Min­ute­man spend­ing out­strips do­na­tions, fees by about $31,000

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jerry Seper

The Min­ute­man Civil De­fense Corps, un­der fire for a lack of fi­nan­cial ac­count­abil­ity, spent nearly $450,000 last year for vol­un­teers to pa­trol the U.S.-Mex­ico border — about $31,000 more than it col­lected in do­na­tions and reg­is­tra­tion fees — ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Nov. 16.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion’s first In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice Form 990 fil­ing as a 501(c)4 tax-ex­empt char­i­ta­ble trust showed nearly $285,000 in MCDC con­tri­bu­tions, or roughly 63 per­cent, were used to pay for pro­gram man­age­ment and op­er­at­ing ex­penses, such as travel ex­pen­di­tures,salaries,ed­u­ca­tional­ma­te­ri­als and of­fice ex­penses.

An­other $145,000, about 32 per­cent, went for MCDC’s fundrais­ing pro­grams.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, about $20,000, or 5 per­cent, was spent on field sup­plies, meals, fuel and back­ground­checks­forthe­claimed8,500 Min­ute­man­vol­un­teers,who­lastyear staffed ob­ser­va­tion posts at se­lected points along the Mex­i­can border fromCal­i­for­ni­a­toTex­as­inApri­land Oc­to­ber.

While the IRS pa­pers doc­u­ment MCDC­col­lec­tion­sand­ex­pen­di­tures throughDec.31,are­ported­do­na­tion to­tal of $418,493 is sig­nif­i­cantly less than the $1.6 mil­lion MCDC Pres­i­dent Chris Simcox told The Wash­ing­ton Times in July that the group had col­lected in do­na­tions since its April 2005 cre­ation. That fig­ure was said to in­clude $1 mil­lion in di­rect MCDC con­tri­bu­tions and $600,000 to­wardthe­con­struc­tionofa$55mil­lion border fence.

At the time, Mr. Simcox said MCDC had spent $160,000 for two border vig­ils in April 2005 and Oc­to­ber 2005, sup­ply­ing vol­un­teers with equip­ment, in­clud­ing com­put­ers, satel­lite phones, food and trail­ers.

He also said the or­ga­ni­za­tion spent an­other $36,000 for monthly, three-day musters by MCDC in the four border states.

MCDC of­fi­cials de­clined to dis­cuss the Form 990 re­port with The Wash­ing­ton Times, but Mr. Simcox said in a state­ment posted on the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Web site, “We are re­leasin­gouror­ga­ni­za­tion­alIRSForm 990 and the ad­di­tional au­dited fi­nan­cial state­ments on dead­line, as promised, when promised.”

Heal­so­saidthatthe­group’sboard ofdi­rec­tors,which­he­heads,had­de­cided that “this year and this year only” it would make pub­lic the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s fi­nan­cial state­ments — cit­ing what he called “out­right ma­li­cious­liesabout­thes­ta­tu­sofMCDC fi­nances.”

In July, sev­eral MCDC lead­ers and vol­un­teers ques­tioned the where­abouts of hun­dreds of thou­sands, per­haps mil­lions, of dol­lars in do­na­tions the or­ga­ni­za­tion had col­lected.

Sev­eral of the group’s top lieu­tenants ei­ther quitorthreat­ened to quit, say­ing re­quest­stoMr.Sim­cox­fora­fi­nan­cial ac­count­ing have been ig­nored. Oth­ers said money promised­for­sup­plies­n­ev­er­reached vol­un­teers at the border.

Mr. Simcox, dur­ing the July in­ter­view, de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions, de­scrib­inghis­crit­ic­sas“known­ra­cial­ists, anti-Semites and a small hand­ful of dis­grun­tled peo­ple who have been ter­mi­nated from staff or from lead­er­ship in­volve­ment with theMin­ute­manCivilDe­fenseCorps over a year ago be­cause they could not meet MCDC stan­dards or ad­here to our strict field stan­dard op­er­a­tional pro­ce­dures.”

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