Phillips has publicly described VotersTrust as a non-profit, specifically a 501c4, a type of non-profit that does not have to disclose its donors. CNN's KFile was unable to locate any public records listing VotersTrust as a nonprofit.
In a phone interview Sunday, Phillips initially denied to CNN's KFile ever describing it as a nonprofit, though it is described that way on the VotersTrust website
and Phillips described it that way as recently as December in a radio interview. "I have another non-profit that I run called The Voters Trust," he said
on the The Bob Phillips Show on KTXW.
When presented with evidence that he had described it as a nonprofit, Phillips replied, "Well, yeah, maybe, I misstated that."
Phillips first gained media attention in 2014 when VotersTrust launched
IRSBountry.com, a website soliciting donations to crowdfund a reward for anyone able to produce evidence that the IRS had targeted conservative 501c4 groups.
Phillips claims the group raised no money. He also denies that it ever solicited donations.
"We never really truly sought, we stood a website up but never sought donations," Phillips told KFile. "The IRS bounty, should anybody have come through, we would've gotten the money but nobody came through. Let me be clear, we never raised one dime for that."
But IRS Bounty was featured on several Fox News shows and other online conservative news outlets. And the group's website featured a donation
button for the "$1 million, crowdfunded award for new, relevant evidence implicating IRS senior leadership or Obama White House officials in the IRS scandal." And tweets from True the Vote, a group that partnered with VotersTrust on the project and which Phillips sits on the board of, also actively sought
donations for the venture
It's unclear why Phillips initially denied describing VotersTrust as a nonprofit. It's also unclear why he denied the group solicited money, despite evidence
to the contrary.
After initially denying to have ever described VotersTrust as a nonprofit, Phillips later in the KFile interview claimed the group was another name for American Solutions, a registered 501c4 that Phillips has run since 2013. Tax documents for American Solutions do not show it doing business as VotersTrust.
According to its 990 tax form, American Solutions generated more than $148,000 in revenue in 2014, with more than $5,000 coming from contributions, gifts and grants. It also lists more than $143,000 from "program service revenue including government fees and contracts."
501c4 groups are not required to report their sources of revenue in detail. It is unclear exactly where that money came from. The same year, the group spent just over $200,000.
Philip Hackney, a tax law expert and professor at Louisiana State University, told CNN'S KFile that reporting requirements governing groups such as American Solutions were loose and that the group was unlikely to be penalized for failing to report any money it acquired and spent under the alias Voters Trust.
Phillips later said that he thought the organization American Solutions was already disbanded, even though as recently as December he claimed he was operating a non-profit.
"Well, we'll figure that out and get that group disbanded as well. I didn't realize it wasn't," he said. The Georgia Secretary of State shows that American Solutions has been dissolved, but an IRS employee said Monday that the group was still registered.
Phillips blocked @KFILE on Twitter following the interview.