Friday, October 18, 2013

"wizard" behind koch brothers donor network now on the outs...,

HuffPo | The high premium that Koch-backed groups attach to preserving donor anonymity was underscored in a previously undisclosed email that Kevin Gentry, the lead organizer of the Kochs’ twice-a-year donor meetings, sent out to scores of financial backers in September, right after Freedom Partners President Marc Short leaked key details of its IRS filing to Politico. The filing revealed that Freedom Partners has become a super conduit for funding many of the same conservative allies as the Center to Protect Patient Rights, plus others like the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business.

“As always, the confidentiality of members is a major priority for us,” Gentry’s email said. “So just to be clear -- filing these tax documents in no way publically [sic] discloses the names or other details of donors.” 

Significantly, Gentry stressed that Freedom Partners was set up as a business league or 501(c)(6) -- similar to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- with a tax status that “provides additional safeguards,” since “members' names are not disclosed to the IRS.”

The importance of anonymity to some donors has increased since last fall’s elections when two California agencies began probing possible violations of a state election law by Noble’s center and two other nonprofits that also don’t disclose their donors. In California, the state's attorney general and its Fair Political Practices Commission have been looking into how the three nonprofits funneled $11 million to a small-business PAC in the state, which spent the funds on an unsuccessful drive to sway two ballot measures.

One ballot measure would have curbed union spending, while the other would have blocked a tax hike backed by the governor. Under California law, donors to state initiative campaigns are supposed to be fully disclosed, and the probe is seeking to ferret out the real source of the $11 million.
The inquiry has been heating up, with an increased focus on possible criminal wrongdoing, according to two people familiar with its progress, and could potentially lead to millions of dollars in civil penalties and criminal charges. In recent weeks, additional subpoenas have been issued and new cooperation has come from some witnesses, the two individuals said. Some of that cooperation seems to be “adverse” to Noble’s center and parts of the Koch donor network, according to one of the two sources.

At least one donor who has been touched by the probe had previously helped fund some Koch-backed projects. Charles R. Schwab, chairman of the eponymous investment firm Charles Schwab Corp., or an entity connected to him has received a subpoena, according to an individual familiar with the probe. Charles Koch, speaking at a Koch conference in 2011, cited Schwab as one of about 30 donors who had kicked in $1 million or more in the prior year to Koch-backed causes.

A spokesperson for Schwab declined to comment. Rob Tappan, a Koch Industries spokesman, has said that the company had no financial or other role with the two California measures, and stressed that he was speaking for the Kochs and not “independent entities” such as Noble’s center. Both the California attorney general’s office and the Fair Political Practices Commission declined to comment. Koch Industries, a vast manufacturing and energy conglomerate, is the nation’s second-largest privately owned company, with annual sales of about $100 billion and 70,000 employees worldwide.


Vic78 said...

It looks like the Kochs put their hands in the cookie jar too many times. You can always get away with getting one or two more. You never clean the jar out. It always ends in an ass whupping.

CNu said...

I think it's just an expendable functionary trying to show and prove his personal mettle so he could rise up a few levels in the game..., unless this becomes a RICO case, the real Don's are safely insulated many levels away from any inconvenient cookie crumbs.

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