Ryan Ellis writes for the Washington Examiner about the dubious activity of a large-scale Democratic funder.

In late July, Politico reported that Third Way, a self-described centrist political group, met with Democratic chiefs of staff in the United States Senate to brief them about the danger to President Joe Biden’s reelection if a third-party presidential candidate runs from the center. The whisper candidate of choice is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). Another centrist group, No Labels, is reportedly looking to spend more than $70 million on such a bid.

Third Way is partnering with the Lincoln Project and Move On to block No Labels from getting third-party ballot access for Manchin or anyone else. This means a supposedly centrist organization (Third Way) is partnering with far-left groups for purely political reasons to block another centrist group from running a presidential campaign.

What should raise some eyebrows both politically and legally is how Third Way is getting the money to launch this quixotic political effort. There’s no question it has the legal standing to do so — as a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt corporation, Third Way can participate explicitly in both legislation and election politics. That’s because most of the time, contributions to 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations are derived from gifts made with after-tax dollars. It’s like you or I donating to a candidate or a political party, just by proxy.

But that’s not Third Way’s business model. According to the 990 tax forms filed by Third Way with the IRS, Third Way received $57 million in grants and contributions from 2019 to 2021. However, the lion’s share of this income, $36 million, or 63%, came from the Third Way Institute. This group is the 501(c)(3) sister corporation of Third Way. Unlike a 501(c)(4), donations to the Third Way Institute are tax-deductible. The price paid for tax deductibility is that TWI cannot engage substantively in lobbying or electioneering, including launching presidential campaigns.