Report: IRS Agents Reviewing Livestrong
Livestrong. Photo: Preston Kemp/Flickr
Two people familiar with knowledge of the IRS review process have told Roopstigo reporter Selena Roberts that the government agency is reassessing the non-profit. Though Livestrong said it had not been contacted by the IRS, Roberts points out that notification isn't necessary for a review, and that new information has emerged that might warrant investigation.
In October, Betsy Andreu and Kathy LeMond described to Roopstigo a 2008 email Armstrong had sent to Sen. John Kerry that threatened to use the Livestrong database against the Democratic Party if then-presidential hopeful Barack Obama did not attend the cyclist's cancer summit. Although there is no evidence that Armstrong acted on the ultimatum—Obama was in Germany and did not attend the event—it is against 501(c)(3) regulations for a tax exempt organization to wield political influence either for or against political candidates.
Also, last month, anecdotes surfaced of Armstrong receiving six-figure daily fees for ride-with-Lance-type benefits. One 2005 event was in Canada for the British Columbia Cancer Foundation's Tour of Courage. And in Norway, the newspaper VG reported a disagreement over whether $400,000 went to Livestrong or Armstrong for a 2009 visit to Oslo. When it was established that the appearance deal was to pay Armstrong, and not Livestrong directly, cyclist Dag Erik Peterson said he still thought the money was for the charity, saying that he saw Armstrong riding in Livestrong cycling gear and "mixed his roles. That's not fair."
For more, read "The Line Between Cause and Cult: Inside Livestrong."