The American Bankers Association (ABA) has announced the creation of Financial Education and Advocacy Initiative Inc., which the trade group dubs as a ‘new nonprofit organization that will help strengthen the banking industry's voice in Washington.’
‘This new organization will give us more firepower in our battle to protect the banking franchise,’ says ABA President and CEO Frank Keating.
However, this new organization has already drawn criticism. According to a report in TheHill.com, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen has written to Internal Revenue Service (IRS), asking the agency to ‘closely scrutinize’ its operations in order to ascertain whether it is deserving of tax-exempt status.
‘The public statements by the American Bankers Association reflect this attitude of abusing the tax code for its own political purposes,’ the group wrote. ‘It is time for the IRS to play a more proactive role in protecting the integrity of the Internal Revenue Code.’
The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the ABA donated $1.8 million to candidates in the 2011-2012 election cycle. With the new the Financial Education and Advocacy Initiative, the ABA will be able provide funds for political races without having to publicly disclose the identities of its donors.