Min­ute­man con­sult­ing char­ity fined for flawed fi­nances

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jerry Seper

One of the char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions cited by Min­ute­man Civil De­fense Corps boss Chris Simcox on why fi­nan­cial ac­count­abil­ity con­cerns raised by some corps mem­ber­swere­un­found­ed­has­been­fined for fail­ing to keep its own fi­nan­cial records in or­der, The Wash­ing­ton Times has learned.

The Dec­la­ra­tion Foun­da­tion, a tax-ex­empt char­ity cre­ated by con­ser­va­tive ac­tivist Alan Keyes, who has vig­or­ously sup­ported the Min­ute­man move­ment, was fined $6,500 in Au­gust and pro­hib­ited by the Penn­syl­va­nia Bureau of Char­i­ta­ble Or­ga­ni­za­tions from solic­it­ing do­na­tions un­til it be­comes “prop­erly reg­is­tered.”

The Aug. 18 “agree­ment and or­der,” signed by Dec­la­ra­tion Foun­da­tion Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Mary Parker Lewis, a top Min­ute­man ad­viser,ac­knowl­edgedthatthechar­ity made false state­ments in seek­ing to so­licit do­na­tions, failed to prop­erly ad­min­is­ter money it had col­lected, and with­held doc­u­ments sought as part of an “in­ves­tiga­tive sub­poena.”

Ac­cord­ing to the bureau, the Dec­la­ra­tion Foun­da­tion failed over a four-year pe­riod to sub­mit au­dited fi­nan­cial state­ments, gave false in­for­ma­tion when it said it did not share rev­enue with other non­profit or tax-ex­empt groups, and mis­stated the truth when it said none of its of­fi­cers or em­ploy­ees was tied to any ven­dor pro­vid­ing ser­vices or goods.

The bureau said the Dec­la­ra­tion Foun­da­tion im­prop­erly shared rev­enue with the Dec­la­ra­tion Al­liance, an­oth­er­tax-ex­emptchar­i­ty­founded by Mr. Keyes, which also has been ac­tiveino­ver­see­ingth­eMin­ute­man Civil De­fense Corps (MCDC).

The Dec­la­ra­tion Foun­da­tion is at the cen­ter of an in­tri­cate weave of con­ser­va­tive­or­ga­ni­za­tions­founded by Mr. Keyes or tied to long­time Keyes as­so­ciates now work­ing with MCDC. They have served as men- tors for Mr. Simcox and pro­vided con­sultin­gand­fi­nan­cialser­vices­for the group’s fundrais­ing and me­dia ac­tiv­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice records, the Dec­la­ra­tion Foun­da­tion re­ported more than $600,000 in con­tri­bu­tions over the past two years and the Dec­la­ra­tion Al­liance, in its 2004 IRS fil­ing, the latest avail­able, re­ported more than $1.7 mil­lion in do­na­tions. The two or­ga­ni­za­tions list the same Re­ston, Va., ad­dress as its place of busi­ness.

MCDC de­scribes it­self as a “project” of the Dec­la­ra­tion Al­liance. The Min­ute­man po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee, which raised hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in po­lit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions this year, is for­mally known as the Dec­la­ra­tion Al­liance Min­ute­manCivilDe­fenseCorp­sPo­lit­i­cal Ac­tion Com­mit­tee, ac­cord­ing to Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion records.

Con­nie Hair, spokes­woman for MCDC and Mr. Keyes, said she had been asked not to talk with The Times.

Mr. Simcox did not re­spond to emails con­cern­ing the Penn­syl­va­nia or­der.

But Mr. Simcox, who co-founded the Min­ute­man move­ment in April 2005,has­toldTheTime­sand­saidon the Min­ute­man Web page that the Dec­la­ra­tion groups of­fered “an ex­pe­ri­enced or­ga­ni­za­tion for mass mail­ings, ad­ver­tis­ing and pub­lic re­la­tions” and the abil­ity to con­duct a “fully ac­cred­ited and in­de­pen­dent au­dit” of MCDC fi­nances.

He said he had “com­plete con­fi­dence in the pro­fes­sional firms we have re­tained to per­form fidu­ciary re­spon­si­bil­ity and ac­count­ing for the Min­ute­man Civil De­fense Corps” and that he had “checked th­ese peo­ple out very care­fully be­fore­a­gree­ing­towork­with­them.”In a July in­ter­view, he ac­cused his crit­ics of be­ing racists and dis­grun­tled for­mer MCDC mem­bers.

Mr. Keyes and his sup­port­ers have been tagged in the past on sus- pected vi­o­la­tions in­volv­ing con­tri­bu­tions,in­cludin­gaDe­cem­ber2002 find­ing­bytheFed­er­alElec­tionCom­mis­sion that said his 2000 pres­i­den­tial­cam­paig­nowedthe­gov­ern­ment more than $220,000 for ques­tion­able con­tri­bu­tions, non­qual­i­fied ex­penses, im­prop­erly han­dled checks and other in­el­i­gi­ble ex­penses.

Mrs. Lewis, who signed off on the Penn­syl­va­nia agree­ment and or­der, served as chief of staff to the Keyes 2000 cam­paign.

Sev­eral cur­rent and for­mer MCDC mem­bers have ques­tioned the where­abouts of hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in do­na­tions col­lected since the Min­ute­man move­ment be­gan in April 2005.

In in­ter­views last week, they said the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s first IRS fil­ing as a501(c)4tax-ex­emptchar­i­ty­onNov. 15 failed to an­swer many of their con­cerns. They said, for ex­am­ple, there was no ac­count­ing in the new fil­ing for at least $150,000 in the $50 reg­is­tra­tion fees re­quired of the 4,000 Min­ute­man vol­un­teers.

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