Monday, November 19, 2012

Mr. Grebe, IRS On Line One

Nonprofit Quarterly wrote about how the Bradley Foundation - led by Scott Walker's campaign chair, Michael Grebe - laundered money to the Einhorn Foundation to put up the racist voter intimidation billboards.

NPQ was quite clear and direct in their message that what Grebe and company did was a major ethical no-no (emphasis mine):
The Bradley Foundation has also been active in its support for combating voter fraud and voter impersonation (which nearly everyone but those who won’t look at the data knows is virtually nonexistent). Bradley’s support is evidenced by its attempt to give a $35,000 grant to True the Vote, an organization which we have written about a few times in the NPQ Newswire (see here and here). True the Vote had to return the money because the organization lacked 501(c)(3) status. Why give True the Vote a grant for election monitoring in 2011? Was Bradley unaware that it and its Tea Party parent organization, the King Street Patriots, lacked 501(c)(3) status, something that could have been determined simply by asking for their IRS letters?

Grebe says that the attempted grant to True the Vote had nothing to do with to the Walker recall campaign. Still, some see a partisan political cast behind the efforts to require voter ID or to “educate” voters about the penalties of voter fraud via anonymous billboards. That impression was perhaps furthered by the comments from a Republican state senator who alleged that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would have carried the Badger State had the courts allowed the state’s voter ID law to be implemented in time for Election Day.

The core issue for us, however, is whether a private foundation can legitimately keep its activities separate from a CEO who isn’t simply endorsing and voting for candidates, but taking leadership roles in their campaigns. Even if the Bradley Foundation did nothing wrong, for only $10,000, it has purchased itself a lot more raised eyebrows than the Einhorn billboards were worth. Both conservative and liberal foundations might want to remember that their preferred role is always one that is separate from government so that they can fund the critics and watchdogs of the right and the left to serve as counterweights to government. When foundations get so close to partisan political actors that the wall of separation between philanthropy and electoral aims becomes—or even has the appearance of potentially becoming—blurred or porous, foundations cause themselves, their reputations, and the image of philanthropy damage.

This applies no matter whether foundations are liberal or conservative. Foundations—which are 501(c)(3) entities—are part of the “third sector,” a nonpartisan, albeit opinionated, sector that is different from government and business. If foundations lose that identity—if major, respected foundations act so as to invite questions as to whether they are handmaidens for partisan political campaigns—the damage will extend from the institution involved to the credibility of its philanthropic peers. It takes very little for a private foundation to inflict harm on itself when it pays insufficient attention to its primary philanthropic mission.
I would just love it if a politician on the state or federal level had the integrity and the fortitude to demand an investigation into the Bradley Foundation and Grebe for violating their tax status, among other crimes.


  1. Capper, great job!

  2. I gotta agree with 4:32AM, but let me be more explicit(hopefully that's prudent in this situation): let's hope Grebe and Scott Walker have combined cells in jail, where they belong.
    In Fond du Lac, I have to live next door to this Tea Party witch, who calls the cops on me for playing liberal-type music--just as I've worked to canvass for the Democratic Party...
    This Tea Party diva, hosted one of these "True the Vote" creeps from Texas to train election observers to intimidate voters at the voting booth. This diva (named Lorrigan) boosted Gudex to compete against Jessica King, as well as loved Tommy Thompson, because she doesn't like "Obamacare."
    To think that laws haven't been violated for their cause--the Grebe and Bradley and Koch and Walker way--is misguided.
    Let's stand up for the cause, and not be polite about it.
    We are fighting bad people, after all.
    Have a nice day, folks.

  3. Why wait for someone else? This is a DIY project.

    Department of the Treasury- Internal Revenue Service

    Form 13909

    Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) Form

  4. And Mr. Grebe- it's Scott Walker on line 2 asking about some emails he might have sent.

    1. Jake, you owe me a new monitor. This one is covered in soda.

  5. Jake, is that 'cause the Kochs have tied up line 1?