FACT CHECK: Did PBS Donate $25 Million To The Democratic National Committee?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Facebook post claims the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) donated $25 million to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) after receiving $200 million from the coronavirus stimulus package.

“This is flat out money laundering and ‘quid pro quo,'” part of the post reads. “Prove me wrong.”

Verdict: False

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) received $75 million from the stimulus package, and a CPB spokesperson confirmed none of those funds will go to PBS. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, PBS is legally prohibited from making donations to political organizations.

Fact Check:

President Donald Trump signed into law on March 27 a $2.2 trillion stimulus package aimed at helping relieve the economic burdens to Americans and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The virus bill gives 25 million dollars to the Kennedy center… 200million to PBS,” claims a viral March 30 post that has been shared over 16,000 times. “In return the Kennedy center donates 5 million to the Democratic party and PBS donates 25 million to the Democratic party.”

The claims, however, are false. (RELATED: Does Nancy Pelosi’s Daughter Sit On The Board Of The Kennedy Center?)

The CPB, which provides funding for PBS and other public media outlets, received $75 million from the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Those funds are earmarked for “fiscal stabilization grants to public telecommunications entities, with no deduction for administrative or other costs of the Corporation, to maintain programming and services and preserve small and rural stations threatened by declines in non-Federal revenues.”

A spokesperson for CPB confirmed to the Daily Caller that none of the CARES Act funds will go to PBS and that CPB does not give or receive donations from political organizations.

PBS and its fundraising arm, the PBS Foundation, are both 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. That means they are legally barred from making contributions to political organizations, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“A section 501(c)(3) organization may not make a contribution to a political organization described in section 527 (such as a candidate committee, political party committee or political action committee),” states the IRS website. “Nor may such an organization establish and maintain a separate segregated fund under section 527.”

Had PBS or its foundation donated money to the DNC, it would have been picked up by media outlets, yet none have reported on the alleged tax law violation. Neither the PBS Foundation nor the DNC have issued press releases announcing such a donation.

And, while the post is correct that the Kennedy Center received $25 million from the stimulus package, those funds did not go to the DNC. The Caller debunked a viral post making that claim in early April.

“The Kennedy Center has never made a donation to any political organization, nor has it received a donation from any political organization,” Michelle Pendoley, a Kennedy Center spokeswoman, told the Caller in an email.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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