WASHINGTON - December 19 - Americans for Limited Government, the Chicago-based tax-exempt organization chaired by New York political activist Howard Rich, has been forced to move out of Illinois because it could not comply with the state's charity laws, the Center for Public Integrity reported today.
Americans for Limited Government spent at least $8 million in 2006 pushing "regulatory takings" initiatives and other ballot measures across the country. The organization faced public scrutiny in failing to disclose its donors or activities through a network of interconnected, tax-exempt entities. On Sept.15, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan notified ALG that its registration under the state's charitable solicitation laws was "delinquent and not in good standing" and would be canceled in 30 days if it failed to file a complete annual report, including an audit by a certified public accountant, as required by law.
Madigan sent identical warnings to ALG's affiliate, Americans for Limited Government Foundation, but neither organization responded to the warnings, leading to the Illinois Attorney General's office cancellation of their registrations as charitable organizations.
Rich recently was described by The Wall Street Journal as "a publicity-shy, libertarian-leaning businessman who has become the go-to man for supporters of conservative ballot initiatives." Rich did not respond to the Center's requests for information about ALG's financial affairs.
ALG had operated from offices in Illinois since 2002, but just after the November 7 elections it quietly changed its address to the Virginia residence of one of its officers. At the same time, ALG created two new tax-exempt groups, the Sam Adams Alliance and the Sam Adams Foundation, which occupy its former Chicago address.