IAVA stands strong by not accepting political funds from Trump’s fundraiser

    In this Sept. 15, 2015, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event aboard the retired ship USS Iowa in Los Angeles. The Associated Press has learned that the Internal Revenue Service has revoked the non-profit status of Veterans for a Strong America, the veterans organization that hosted Trump’'s foreign policy speech. Veterans for a Strong America is headed by Joel Arends, a veteran and conservative campaign operative. Arends told the AP he disagrees with the IRS’'s determination and is appealing. He would not provide a copy of any tax returns the group had filed. The IRS automatically revokes any group’'s non-profit status if it fails to file returns for three consecutive years. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks September 15th during a campaign event aboard the retired ship USS Iowa in Los Angeles. The AP has learned that the IRS has revoked the non-profit status of Veterans for a Strong America. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

    After Donald Trump dropped out of Thursday night’s Fox News debate, he instead announced that he would be holding a fundraising event with proceeds going to veterans and wounded warrior organizations.

    IAVA is one of the organizations that pushed back against Trump’s fundraiser, retweeting IAVA President Paul Rieckhoff: “If offered, @IAVA will decline donations from Trump’s event. We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts.”

    Trump’s relationship with veterans has been rocky since his comments about Sen. John McCain, saying he wasn’t a hero because he was captured during the Vietnam War. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK. I hate to tell you,” Trump said in an interview.

    Not all IAVA followers are happy about the move to not accept political donations from Trump, but it appears that they don’t understand that IAVA never accepts political donations in the first place.

    Paul Rieckhoff explained some of the backlash that IAVA has received after explaining their policy saying:

    The ‪#‎IAVA‬ team and I have gotten a ton of nasty, uninformed attacks on social media this week by Trump supporters for refusing to compromise our integrity by taking his political money. (we don’t take money from ANY candidates). We’re also getting lots of nasty attacks for this (again).

    IAVA was proud to be the first and only national veterans group to support the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. And to fight to repeal DOMA. Those were not partisan positions, they were about upholding American values of equality and opportunity for all.

    Those historic changes have also made our military stronger and better supported our military families. We’re used to taking heat for doing what’s right–that’s the price of leadership. And we know many, many stand with us. But it’s never easy. And the tone of calls and social media directed at us has been alarmingly toxic and threatening. Like nothing we’ve seen before.

    In times like this especially, #IAVA will strive to be a voice of reason, integrity and unity. As MLK said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Please stand with us and spread the word. ‪#‎WeAreUnited‬

    I for one, am so impressed when organizations stand strong and focus on supporting veterans initiatives. I’m with you IAVA. I support your organization and believe in non-profits not being for sale and siding with any politician. #WeAreUnited.


    kristine schellhaas founder usmclife.com usmc lifeAbout the Author: Kristine Schellhaas’s success as an entrepreneur and nationally renowned advocate for military families is the result of her unwavering passion, fearless commitment, and unique authenticity. She founded USMC Life in 2009 as a way to help inspire, connect and educate Marine Corps families and has dedicated thousands of volunteer hours helping military families through five wartime deployments. Kristine has written a memoir entitled 15 Years of War, which is scheduled for release in summer 2016.

    Born and raised in Boise, Idaho – Kristine currently resides at Camp Pendleton in Southern California with her two children and dog and currently serves on the board for military non-profits. In her spare time, Kristine enjoys reading, as well as celebrating life and red wine with friends. To learn more about Kristine visit her website.

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