This is a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of current and former APA members who have paid special or practice assessment fees as part of their annual dues. The APA falsely and deceitfully misled its members into thinking that payment of the special or practice assessment was mandatory and required for membership in the APA, when in fact that was not true.
The APA, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit corporation organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is the world’s largest association of licensed psychologists with thousands of members throughout the country.
Since at least 2001, the APA had falsely represented to its members that a “mandatory” practice or special assessment over and above the annual dues was required for membership in the APA. In fact, payment of that assessment (which as of 2011 amounted to approximately $140.00 per member per year) was completely voluntary, and solely required for membership in the APA’s 501(c)(6) organization, the APAPO—a separate organization operated by the same leadership as APA from the same address in Washington, D.C. The APAPO conducts professional advocacy and lobbying on behalf of members.
The APAPO is organized under section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, ostensibly as an organization that is separate from APA, for purposes of conducting lobbying and advocacy activities. Such activities could not be lawfully conducted by the APA, which is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Recognizing that many of its members would not voluntarily pay to fund this lobbying and advocacy organization, APA deliberately sought to maximize lobbying funds outside of the proper lawful function of a 501(c)(3) entity. The APA misrepresented to its members that as part of annual membership renewal there was a “mandatory” assessment, which it then allocated to the APAPO.
Complaint: Amer Psy Assoc 12-24-13