Extra Extra : Nonprofit

Pro-troop charity misleads donors while lining political consultants’ pockets

Move America Forward calls itself the nation's "largest grassroots pro-troop organization," and has recruited a bevy of Republican luminaries, including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, to support its efforts.

Yet a ProPublica examination of its fundraising appeals, tax records and other documents shows that Move America Forward has repeatedly misled donors and inflated its charitable accomplishments, while funneling millions of dollars in revenue to the men behind the group and their political consulting firms.

Read the story here.

Racing company pocketed money pledged to military-related charities

When Spartan Race, an international obstacle course-racing company, launched a “Special Ops”-themed race in Tampa, it promised donations to local non-profits as a method of marketing. But months later, WTSP-TV found the race, which cost between $70 and $100 to enter, donated less than 40 cents per person to non-profits in dire need.

The station found that "the primary beneficiary, the SOCOM Care Coalition, received a check for just $2,486. That's less than 47 cents for every one of the 5,312 runners who finished the race; less than 33 cents for every one of the 7 ...

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San Diego-area nonprofit falsifies board members on IRS form

A nonprofit providing parenting classes, food banks, graffiti removal and gang counseling to the South Bay was discovered to be falsifying their Form 990. An investigation by NBC7-San Diego found that three people listed as board members of "Turning the Hearts Center" had no knowledge they were listed on the documents. 

"After NBC7 Investigates began asking questions about the board, the organization’s co-founder and board chairman sent people previously listed on the 990’s amended copies of the IRS tax forms. He also provided NBC7 a copy of those amended forms."

Experts: County supervisor’s charity use violated state, federal laws

San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn said he bought a charity decades ago for $25, called it the Basic Faith Foundation and used it to hold money from real estate deals.

Horn said he gave the interest to Christian missionaries in Mexico and South America.

inewsource dug into the Basic Faith Foundation and into Horn’s own description of how he used it. Five experts with national reputations in tax law and nonprofit management reviewed the transcript of inewsource’s interview with the supervisor, as well as the supporting documentation from state and federal agencies.

All reached the same conclusion ...

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Audit shows Miss. rural water association plagued by financial problems

An audit of the North Lee County Water Association in Mississippi turned up widespread financial management problems, including violations of several state and federal laws, the Daily Journal (Tupelo, MS) reports.

The audit, which is likely “the most rigorous examination ever” of the nonprofit cooperative's financial records, comes on the heels of a $1.2 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Administration.

While copies of the audit are required to be available for public inspection, the water association did not comply with state law.

The association has been plagued with problems, according to the ...

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A campaign inquiry in Utah is the watchdogs’ worst case

Investigators say former Utah Attorney General John Swallow “exploited a web of vaguely named nonprofit organizations in several states to mask hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from payday lenders,” The New York Times reports.

“Public records, affidavits and a special legislative report released last week offer a strikingly candid view inside the world of political nonprofits, where big money sluices into campaigns behind a veil of secrecy.”

Read the entire story.

Charity Checker

The Tampa Bay Times, in partnership with The Center for Investigative Reporting, has built an online tool to make charity research a little easier. Our “Charity Checker” website, for the first time, aggregates the ratings and reviews already offered by several of the nation’s most prominent watchdog organizations. With a simple search, you can see their results, all in one place, then click through to dig deeper into a charity through GuideStar, Charity Navigator, GreatNonprofits and the Better Business Bureau. The idea for Charity Checker grew out of our reporting on America’s Worst Charities, a yearlong investigation into ...

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Banks making money off charitable donations

Banks are reaping significant financial rewards as they give to charities hundreds of distressed properties in communities still suffering the effects of the foreclosure crisis. But a Chicago Tribune investigation looked at the outcomes for hundreds of donated homes and revealed a pattern of profiteering, mismanagement and failure to help some of the city's hardest-hit communities. This is another installment in the Poverty & Profit series, which probes how a once-stable African-American community has been devastated by corruption and City Hall neglect. 

Extra Extra Monday: Prosecutorial misconduct, Hollywood sting, nuclear waste lands, private prisons

Prosecutorial misconduct alleged in half of capital cases |  The Arizona Republic
In half of all capital cases in Arizona since 2002, prosecutorial misconduct was alleged by appellate attorneys. Those allegations ranged in seriousness from being over emotional to encouraging perjury. Nearly half those allegations were validated by the Arizona Supreme Court.

Hollywood Sting | Al Jazeera America
FBI investigation of a California political dynasty uncovers alleged bribery and corruption in the shadows of Tinseltown

Special report: Addicted nurses keep licenses | The Star Tribune
Some nurses continue to steal narcotics or practice while impaired under state monitoring that’s supposed to stop ...

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Some non-profits found to keep significant losses quiet

Charities and other non-profits often try to keep their losses quiet to avoid spooking donors, but a Washington Post investigation by Joe Stephens and Mary Pat Flaherty used a new IRS tax return checkbox to find more than 1,000 organizations that reported significant diversions of assets. The Post’s online database is being used by news organizations around the country (and abroad) to report on charities in their area that were victimized.