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'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?…' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

EVERYCRSReport.com: Project of Demand Progress (a 501©3 + 501©4 each w/ fiscal agent~New Venture Fund (formerly Arabella Legacy Fund), Sixteen Thirty Fund), the R Street Institute (formerly DC Progress). So, Will the Real Sponsors Step Out from behind their Fiscal Agents, WITH NameTags, or Shall I Continue Outing Them?) [Last revised Sept.11, published “As-Is” Sept. 21, 2017]

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 Notice the Last Revised, Published and “As-Is” dates added to this post title!

EVERYCRSReport.com: Project of Demand Progress (a 501©3 + 501©4 each w/ fiscal agent~New Venture Fund (formerly Arabella Legacy Fund), Sixteen Thirty Fund), the R Street Institute (formerly DC Progress). So, Will the Real Sponsors Step Out from behind their Fiscal Agents, WITH NameTags, or Shall I Continue Outing Them?) [Last revised Sept.11, published “As-Is” Sept. 21, 2017] (case-sensitive short-link ends “-7zh”).

I just, mid-September, added a new page, and a post introducing the new page, not particularly focused on this topic, but instead on Collaborative Justice Courts, or how California at least worked over some decades to turn the courts into “problem-solving” justice system, and who (such as the Center for Court Innovation in New York, the National Center for State Courts, and as it turns out when considering “Government:  The Final Frontier” and whether the courts are better off like universities, as “loosely-coupled organizations” (a 2013 publication) with the help of Harvard Kennedy School of Government) has been helping this happen.

Returning now, later, to posts in the pipeline (i.e., in draft), I see this one I last worked on 9/11/2017 has major show and tell elements already in place and uploaded.  I remember working hard on it, and with some incredulity as the inter-relationships developed from such a simple, basic website as “EVERYCRS.com.”

So I rate this one “pretty damn good,” if not fully complete (fully complete would continue exploring the relationship with the Global Fund found by looking up a little (?) LLC grantee hiding (sic) in a field of other ones which just happens to have been run by one of the extended Kennedy clan. One of the earlier, colorfully annotated images gets right into this.  I also could’ve done more image uploads, or further pursued some of the many names which surfaced just looking at that single website.

My purpose is stated within the posts. We need to examine the “windowframes” of on-line information better, and do some of the drill-downs.  This will reveal relationships, and often leads to things you may not have had a clue about before, or other insights into ones you did.  I’m not likely to continue researching the exact topics and organizations here in the near future and so am publishing “as is.”  I again hope more people will take a closer look as well (CRS reports are good reads on the topic) on the matter of “Reorganization Authority,” the first topic below, while realizing that Presidential Reorganization Authority is not the only way of re-arranging government and in the process centralizing power, DE-centralizing the financial trail beyond tracking, and letting the largest currents in the river, and some of the oldest ones (I’m talking about consolidated family wealth held in tax-exempt places…) run the show by default.

“WINDOWFRAME” example which prompted me to write this post:

You may not think, judging by this blog, I watch the current news — but I do, and doing so, I know what I’m saying here is important.  You CANNOT judge a leader by the cause; look at the carrier and the means as well.  Navigating who’s who in any given situation, that is, on-line promotion, website, or named initiative, is an art and a skill.  It’s necessary, and I don’t believe people who just won’t develop it are the best defenders of liberty, justice, rights, or fair play. Start understanding what type of information is being withheld by whom (financial reports on great global causes) and start publicizing the withholding of this information.

Don’t fall into the Democrat/Republican Verbal Ping-Pong Tournaments as the ping-pong balls!  Develop some peripheral (and depth) vision.  There may be other ways, but this is how I’ve been doing it.   Comments fields remain open…. I moved the “Read more of this post” marker further down the page than usual to get to the part containing some annotated images and my statement of purpose for this post.

The tags may be added properly later, but meanwhile, here they are in image format:

(This odd presentation of “tags” for a post substitutes for the real thing, or shorthand for a preview, temporarily)

9/22/2017 update:  Tags have been added, basically the same format, plus a few more. From now on, for tags which represent principles, questions, or exhortations (“Keep Your Eyes on the Assets” etc.) I will start applying quotes (except ones already in place without the quotes) so these will display, ideally, separately from the others.  This isn’t reflected on the above image because the alphabetizing only occurs with a “Save” function; I took the above image as a precaution when there was a glitch in that process.  . . . . Also know that tags are not applied (I do not apply tags) to all posts so the Search function may be best option if all posts on specific topics are wanted.  One reason why — due to a quirk of the blog domain, too many tags makes the blog administrative section, which I use frequently during writing to connect various posts & pages, unwieldy (causes them to display only one or two per page).

If your purpose is to browse the blog in general (although my Sticky Posts do summarize it)  one way to do so is through the table of contents, so far as they go, right sidebar section labeled most recent posts, or on the right sidebar to the blog (scroll down considerably below some “Text” widgets in different background colors), look through those “Vital Links/Chrono-Alpha” menu which has been compiled over several years; I made some recent additions, but typically don’t add to it regularly.  

Overall, there should be something in here for almost anyone, assuming basic GED literacy and some interest in numbers.  Otherwise, I doubt anyone would last long even looking at this blog…..I’m no graphic artist, and have none on payroll (there IS no payroll here….)..


Below this line was written 9/11/2017 or earlier, except for one section on a fund-raiser for New Venture Fund I’d previously studied (Citizen Engagement Laboratory, a 501©4 + its related 501©3 CEL Education Fund) in Northern California).  

Post currently was just under 10,000 words.; with added “CEL” section it is now pushing 12,000 (9/23/2017)


Where this started, this round – I found a third source of CRS reports on the “Reorganization Authority” at EveryCRSReport.com (This one is from 2001, author redacted by practice of those running the website). It’s labeled “Received through CRS Web.”  CRS stands for Congressional Research Service, which is under the Library of Congress.  Link and images will be repeated lower in post also.

While I’m quoting FYI up front several paragraphs (see this background-color) from this 2001 CRS Review on the Reorganization Authority (It’s relevant — I have also two side-bar links on related U.S. history involving this, (Abolishing Representative Government || the Social Scienc-i-fication of America) and referenced the Reorganization Authority several times in 2016 on this blog also), this post less about that content than about the “window-frame” in which (and by whom) it’s presented.

We are missing so much vital information by ignoring follow-up, even basic, “routine” check-it-out searches, on the delivering framework, i.e., the edges of these websites.

Content is one matter.  The conduct of the organizations sponsoring any content is another, and it’s even more important matter when so many are also operating nonprofit and operating in ways designed to affect the direction of both state and federal governments, which is to say, affecting the legislative process and programming.  A closer look beyond their websites at the financials and filings of the sponsoring organizations reveals a lot in a short time about their character, and handling of an important commodity for all of us — money:  Funds.  Numbers. Revenues and Expenses, Assets and Liabilities, and compliance with instructions on an IRS form showing whether it matters to the organizations, or, perhaps not…   

The President’s Reorganization Authority: Review and Analysis  March 8, 2001. [Order Code RL30876]

Summary

Among the initiatives being promoted** with the beginning of the Administration of President George W. Bush

**Writer shows tact (?) in omitting “by whom,” including whether especially by the new President…

is that of renewing the President’s lapsed authority to submit reorganization plans to Congress. The general rationale offered for renewing this authority is that it would provide additional flexibility and discretion to the President in organizing the executive branch to promote “economy and efficiency” as well as his political priorities. The regular legislative route for considering presidential proposals involving organizational changes is deemed by reorganization authority supporters as being unduly slow and cumbersome. Thus, the proposal to permit the President to submit reorganization plans subject to mandatory congressional consideration with “fast track” procedures is viewed by the reorganization proposal’s proponents as a necessary reform for good government. Critics of the reorganization plan authority reject the arguments and assumptions behind  the proposal and defend the efficacy and legitimacy of the regular legislative process for executive reorganization proposals.

This report addresses three specific issues: (1) the historical basis and use of the President’s reorganization authority; (2) the factors contributing to the lapse of the President’s reorganization authority in 1984,[FN1] and (3) thoughts on the future of reorganization in the executive branch.

[FootNote 1] It is worth noting that the Reorganization Act of 1977, as amended, remains “on the books,” but is not presently operative for execution as it expired on December 31, 1984. See Appendix for Reorganization Act Amendments of 1984, 98 Stat. 3192; and Appendix 2 for Executive Reorganization, chapter 9 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code.

AND:

With the 1983 Chadha decision (Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha; 462 U.S. 919) striking down the legislative veto, the utility and desirability of the Reorganization Act, compared to following the regular legislative process, came in to question. Whereas “fast track” options within the larger legislative process retain their appeal under certain circumstances (and reorganization of the executive branch may indeed be one of those circumstances), no President since 1984 has requested the renewal of the reorganization authority.

[I’m posting that quote on 9/11/2017, remembering that this request was made months before the same historic date in 2001].  Paragraph referencing HOOVER, Economy Acts of 1932 and 1933..

…The co-managership concept has been criticized by proponents of the theory of the dominant President that has enjoy ascendency (beginning with the Progressive Movement), throughout most of the last century. While Secretary of Commerce, President Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) had been a proponent of the idea that Congress should delegate to the President authority to propose reorganizations of the executive branch subject to some form of congressional disapproval.3 Near the end of his term, Hoover was successful in persuading Congress, when passing the Economy Acts of 1932 and 1933, to include a provision assigning the President reorganization authority.4 [footnotes omitted from here on, in my quotes]

This short CRS summary is a good read and especially with follow-up on its footnotes will lead, probably for most people except those already IN government or studying it, to a better understanding of the balance of powers (Congress vs. White House) if not in some parts of U.S. history and the various agencies we now seem to take for granted as immutable and apparently believe that if they weren’t seemingly ever-present and effectively running things (including things they have no real jurisdiction over, such as the courts) with the help of the public/private partnership collaborations, “the sky just might fall.”**

Paragraph on President FDR right before WW II:

Although President Franklin Roosevelt had some interest in executive reorganization during the New Deal years, he was more focused toward creating new agencies and programs than in consolidation and retrenchment. The Reorganization Act was rarely used and allowed to lapse in 1935. As America faced heightened international pressures, however, Roosevelt indicated renewed interest in executive reorganization as a tool for increasing presidential authority and for preparing America to meet its wartime responsibilities.8 One product of this changed political climate was passage of the Reorganization Act of 1939.9 This Act provided that for two years the President could submit reorganization plans that would go into effect unless Congress disapproved by a concurrent resolution of disapproval. As far as Congress was concerned, the objective was for the President to use the authority “to reduce expenditures to the fullest extent consistent with the efficient operation of [page break] Government.” President Roosevelt, never persuaded that the principal purpose of reorganizing was saving of money, took the opportunity to successfully propose in Reorganization Plan No. 1 the establishment of an Executive Office of the President.10 During World War II, the President was given authority under Title I of the War Powers Act to make temporary, emergency wartime reorganizations for the duration of the war plus six months.11 (etc.)

(**It feels a little odd saying “the sky might fall” in the recent context of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, where the sky, or at least wind and rain is aggressive and the waters have been rising, power outages, gas shortages, mass-evacuations in Florida, ….but …. I think the comparison with disaster scenario if business as usual (within the federal executive branch of government) were significantly disrupted, reduced, or scaled back.

But this post came from a closer look at who is behind “EveryCRS.com,” that is, the basic windowframe of the on-line service and resource, more than the content.


What’s in the “windowframe” on any website, or uploaded material to a website, typically advertising or publicizing a project, or goods or services?  The intended main message is presented in the main section, but the fine print at the top, or at the bottom, or (with varying degrees, and plenty of exceptions) in part on the “financials” page or any page where such financials are presented. Or, if not presented, that’s part of the “frame” as well.

The purpose of this post isn’t just to expose or explain a single project’s backers, but again for an example of ways to distinguish a project (characterized often by domain name and on website) from the actual backers of the same project.  From here on out on this post, I’m looking at the entities, their tax returns, and their self-declarations of how they’re related to each other.  There are many images and as usual those Form 990 tables.

Because these particular organizations involve some famous family lines, and predictably some “Harvard / Yale/ Georgetown / Columbia” graduates and connections to billion-dollar tax-exempt foundations such as the Nature’s Conservancy // Secretary of the Interior (Clinton Admin). Also involving two young men on one project, one (David Segal) a former Rhode Island House member (Green Party) and I see also a Non-Residential Fellow at Stanford’s Center for the Internet, and the other (David Moon) a current Maryland Democrat. (Self-described Progressive Democrat for MD).

From DavidMoon.us website accessed from his government site. The next info from gov’t. site I captioned here for post layout reasons only:__ “Member of House of Delegates since January 14, 2015. Member, Judiciary Committee, 2015- (family law subcommittee, 2015-; chair, juvenile law subcommittee, 2017-, member, 2015-). Member, Land Use, Transportation, and Public Safety Committee, Montgomery County Delegation, 2015-. Member, Maryland Legislative Asian-American and Pacific-Islander Caucus, 2015-. Associate member, Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus, 2016-. Member, Criminal Justice Information Advisory Board, 2015-. ________ Interim Chief of Staff and senior legislative aide to Nancy Navarro, District 4, Montgomery County Council, 2009-10.”

David Segal Former (2008 – 2011) R.I. House Democrat, from Balletopedia, which says he ran unopposed in 2008 and won with just 3,688 votes..and which links to other info incl. from Project VoteSmart..

(Project VoteSmart goes on to say that most candidates play it safe and refuse to answer where they stand on key issues, but it’s “fighting back” for 2018 with an added “Do You Know Your Candidates?” feature. David Segal doesn’t seem to lack courage but apparently prefers to speak through at least one nonprofit corporate mouth, i.e., Demand Progress..

Rep. David Moon from MSA.Maryland.gov.

“Demand Progress” has also a close connection to Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide facing heavy federal prosecution for his excess downloads in 2013 (Jan 29, 2013, in Common Dreams) Demand Progress Commends House Oversight Committee’s Call for DOJ Briefing About Aaron Swartz Prosecution :

WASHINGTON – Demand Progress is praising the leadership of the House Oversight Committee — Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) — for demanding a briefing from the Department of Justice on the prosecution of Demand Progress co-founder Aaron Swartz. Their letter calling for such a briefing may be found here: http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/2013-01-28-DEI-EEC…

A renown {sic} technologist and Internet activist, Swartz tragically committed suicide earlier this month. He was being threatened with decades in prison for downloading too many academic journal articles. Swartz’s friends and family believe that the heavy-handed prosecution by U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and her deputy Stephen Heymann helped compel him to take his own life.

Again, the content and cause are one thing, the conduct of the organizing entities, another.

Does a noble cause justify deceitful practices on tax returns?  Yet Demand Progress Action, Inc., (see close to the bottom of this post — it took me time to check several sources — seems to be faking the existence of one of its related entities, which was carried through on every tax return I saw out of the only a few years of its existence.  Above and beyond that, the major “New Venture Fund” and more recent, similarly-managed, but much smaller sized “Sixteen Thirty Fund” have their own strange behaviors (including originally funnelling so much money — which there seems to be NO lack of — towards subcontractors with which the founders had an acknowledged (from the start) “special” relationship while refusing to call it a Schedule-R qualifying one.

Within the latest year tax return shown for New Venture Fund, which does NOT post its audited financial statements on their own website, I found by looking in California, where they were registered since 2011 as a charity (though incorporated over a year earlier, and at the multi-million-dollar revenues AND assets by then), the audited financial statements uploaded to the California Charitable Trusts Registry showed it went from simply referring to itself, to referring to itself “and affiliates” (which the tax returns make no mention of, for the same year).  It also acknowledged doing business under several different names (by project) in successive years.

These FS show that even the IRS originally was so concerned about the situation they required “supplemental 1023 questions” be answered about the purpose of having a major subcontractor (Arabella Advisors LLC in MD, earlier called Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors, LLC — whose sole member was (founder of both New Venture Fund AND Sixteen Thirty) Eric Kessler. The individuals involved were of course aware of this and had prepared a workaround declaration of “arms-length relationship” yet I also saw that they declared this would only be for about a years’ duration — yet now nine or ten years later, the LLC is getting the most (compared to all other) independent subcontractor business from the larger nonprofit (NVF), for FY2015, make that over thirteen million dollars ($13M).

If you want to validate some of my statements above before reading this post (not recommended), this is a printout of the information available from California (for your records).  I may not detail it all on this post, for lack of space!  NewVentureFund CAl Entity 3402617, Calif OAG Details Info Sched + Related Dox (3pp) showing rapid growth (19M-16M 2010 to 264M-318M 2015!), many INCOMPLETE Sched B ltrs (NameExcessContrb

This image shows the “details” page (top only) of a California-registered, DC-based charity (founded in 2006), with FEIN# and Entity# on the top right, followed by schedules of filed reports, and at the bottom (this one’s only 3pp) active links to uploaded documents (in pdf form) anyone can read, including at least three labeled “founding documents” as well as several repeated requests from the OAG from missing information (names and addresses of major contributors, submitted on Schedule B) and some Audited Financial Statemts (“FS”). (labeled typically “Miscellaneous Doc’ts” for some reason). Those FS are rich with relevant info… Click image to enlarge and here (or nearby link to same annotated pdf, with extended title, in the same post).

Jan 23, 2015 Notice from Calif. OAG to the multi-million-dollar nonprofit NVF (EIN#205806345) seeking delinquent info from FYs 2010 and 2013..

New Venture Fund 6/27/2011 incorporation in Calif (it’d just changed its name from “Arabella Legacy Fund” in 2009). Apparently it registered as a charitable trust before registering as a corporation in Calif. (Searchable at BusinessSearch.SOS.CA.gov)

A prior fiscal year FS ending Dec. 2014 & 2013 at the same source (Calif. OAG) doesn’t contain the words “and affiliates” on its title. No tax return references any “affiliates” or lists them on a Schedule R as related entities. However, pre-2008 returns did list (as “100% controlled”) Responsible Trails America, LLC under the same category which later (for the IRS forms) became Sched-R-defined material.

This Post’s Title: EVERYCRSReport.com: Project of Demand Progress (a 501©3 + 501©4 each w/ fiscal agent~New Venture Fund (formerly Arabella Legacy Fund), Sixteen Thirty Fund), the R Street Institute (formerly DC Progress). So, Will the Real Sponsors Step Out from behind their Fiscal Agents, WITH NameTags, or Shall I Continue Out-ing Them? (shortlink ends “-7zh”).

These wheeling & dealing entities, business “persons”  really are declared creations, so why shouldn’t there be name tags required to self-identify —  like labels for children on a school trip — their parents, home legal domicile (**U.S. state or territory) and approximate legal age (founding dates), or (here, the physical analogy breaks down) whether they are holograms or some imitation of the real thing.

Puzzling out who or what belongs to whom can be fascinating and on some levels entertaining, except that meanwhile, this IS affecting national interests and because of the tax-exemption factor, tax receipts from those who don’t normally operate in this “originally wealthy (and/or privileged) serial entrepreneur plus my very own 501©3 to direct funds to them, re-distribute, re-characterize, stockpile, and mis-represent ourselves” manner.

That snide comment about “wealthy and/or privileged” does apply to one of the nonprofits listed above, and obviously several of its boards of directors, as you’ll see if you keep reading. On looking at (the same, actually) nonprofit’s FY2009 largest grantee, NOT like most of them that year, another nonprofit, I also found it was an LLC which (shortly after receiving the grant with a Los Angeles Address) quickly became status “FTB Suspended/Forfeited.”

Curious, and now that I can do this in California, I clicked on the associated pdfs (only 3 shown:  2005, 2007 and 2009) and found its chief and ONLY referenced officer was a member of the, to quote Wikipedia, “extended Kennedy clan.”  This compromised the largest single grant and over ⅓ of all grants for that year, so it’s just about fair to say, the other much smaller grantees were there in part for a smokescreen, although assuming money actually changed hands, I’m sure those of them that were also real, appreciated it. Looking further at the project this largest grant was for, I found another project (should I decide to follow-up further) in an international NGO “The Global Fund” started 2002 in Switzerland, later, 2006, in the US “by Executive Order” (no link to the order provided) and finally (2014) in the EU. The project to raise money for the cause involving licensing of patents for new products to, you guessed it, a company started in part by the same guy who took the large grant under an LLC, then “skipped town” as far as keeping it registered.  Being of such a well-known pedigree, why that was necessary?, one wonders….

I couldn’t make this up, and didn’t!  This next annotated image from the nonprofit references the purpose of the grant — for “Product (Red) Campaign.” (right-most column).

Read the fine print on “Product Red”

Cal. Business Entity search doesn’t show dates SOS/FTB (Franchise Tax Board) forfeited, but this one has no filings after 2009, when it got a $1.3M grant. They are required now every other year… The registered agent name conceals the company owner, who is a known political figure from a political clan and whose family on at least one side dates back to the 13 colonies…

Click to enlarge; it shows company ownership.

Click to enlarge, the earlier filing was handwritten and shows its ownership.

SOS (secretary of state) FTB (Franchise Tax Board) forfeited means involuntarily, although failing to fulfil EASY basic filing requirements was no doubt intentional enough. Besides, what kind of business name, and line of business is that to be, getting direct grants from a charitable organization only started in this century (in fact, one year after this registration in CA?

Portion of Bobby Shriver’s (Robert S. Shriver, III) “Wiki” shows the social sphere, political connections aspirations — and a bit on project Product Red and ONE (with ONE having since bought out “Red” of “Product Red.”) “RED” is a brand-licensing company…

..and this is how it works (from the Wiki). Read the fine print….

In strangely weak, faint font on Global Fund’s Annual Report (it posted no independenty audited financials that I see, and may or may not be registered within the US as subject to the IRS — if so, certainly no Forms 990 are showing up on its website in clear view…) ALTHOUGH DISPERSALS REACHED $33.8 Billion…

Another reference to privilege among the sponsoring (fiscal agent) entities mentioned above:

Look for reference to “trustee of family foundation which holds assets generated from sale of a fifth generation family-owned business comment” (in a caption). The academia doesn’t go beyond a single B.A. and an Executive MBA from Georgetown.

… I was just looking for another reference to CRS reports on the Reorganization Act, remembering that the Congressional Research Services (“CRS”) had at least a few on the topic.  EVERYCRS.com however is no government website. [Will repeat this para. & title with link again lower down].

I make the time to keep doing this type of study so people might start remembering to look for the same type of information on other sites when those sites are reporting on ANY topic of interest on any cause about which a reader is concerned.

In other words, the exhortation is: “don’t let entities just mainline information into your psyche — take a quick look “behind the scenes” and make notes on who is, and who isn’t, exactly forthcoming on who, exactly, they are while soliciting donations!!” Or, even if your donations aren’t really needed (true in at least one nonprofit here), but the entity is working to steer government policy one direction or another through “multiplication of controlled charitable organizations.”

It also I believe raises sensitivity to and awareness of just how frequently nonprofits can be and are formed, file (or fail to file) IRS returns, and change street addresses and legal entity names frequently. With ENOUGH more of this sensitivity, it’s my hope that I may personally engage in more conversations on this topic where I am not the initiator / expositor.

This is public-interest information and translates / cuts through a lot of rhetoric and with enough force, COULD potentially back up some of the deceptive practices, or at least make it more uncomfortable for some to continue engaging in them with barely a protest.. NOTE:  Protest along political partisan lines less problem to the opposite sides as would be the perhaps even more relevant protest of tax-exempt status “per se,” itself, as enabling the camouflage of “less than honorable” — and at times criminal — organized, collective purposes.

Are we so hooked on the benefits of tax-exempt organizations? At what point does the “news” that this proliferating and poorly monitored (mathematically improbable — who would pay for it?) nonprofit sector whose coordinators are historic experts in maintaining collective centralized control without being caught at it, and creating the illusion of grassroots support for ANY chosen cause, and taking it global, still shock anyone?  It’s already facilitated a virtual “shadow government” through associations named after government entities (as I’ve been blogging this past season — in the Do You Know Your ….? series)

If we are really all in this together — meaning within this country — then why is the default citizen status unless truly too poor, “taxed” (income) on the basis of government need — but such tax receipts are allegedly not sufficient to support government services, so a host of nonprofits are needed to supplement what the taxed are not contributing?   (Note: a Budget =/= a Financial Report of all revenue-producing assets, as true of private parties (read any tax return to see the categories:  Revenues + Expenses on separate pages, Balance Sheet (with Assets – Liabilities = Net Assets) on another. They are NOT the same categories.  True also of governments with the primary difference — governments have the ability to forcibly tax, or seize assets and/or incarcerate, people (human beings) subject to them, or put them out of business for failure to register/pay.


In today’s example, a project had bipartisan support, and both sides (examined closer) were engaged in similar frequent-flyer name-change purposes, all driving money TO the nonprofit sector where it benefits both donors (if the tax-deductible nonprofit sector especially) and where it can be better lost-track of, lost or mis-represented on tax returns.  Protest by the public based on a changing, but with enduring set of menu choices as to “causes” is much more appreciated by both sides (“all PR is good PR” when compared to making public the “player” angle shown, quickly, by this type of lookups).


Another feature to become aware of is how entities sponsoring projects (and soliciting donations for the cause) can seem more independent, or more popular (sometimes, more broke) than they are through over-use of “fiscal agents.”  So here, there was a collaboration on a project involving TWO entities named — but those entities as named were actually three entities (i.e., one of them had both 501©4 and 501©3 forms with the same basic name:  “Demand Progress.”).  Fiscal agents charge fees, so that’s also bonus revenues for those who provide this cover, and the cover also helps, while funnel money in certain favored-cause directions.

Meanwhile, the other, “R Street Institute” not even being that old, had a previous name, “DC Progress.”  … Of the two entities sharing the basic name “Demand Progress” (one of each type), a Donate website from the original project of interest (EveryCRS.com) says that each one had a different fiscal agent (!!).

In addition (separately, see top right corner of that image) there are the companies helping electronically process the donations, such as ActBlue.  If ActBlue may seem to have a political allegiance to it, that seems to be the case, although here it’s just processing donations….


Looking at the two “different” fiscal agents for each arm of “Demand Progress” I found after looking further (for a few hours, including also the annotation and uploading of images, as well as labeling them, etc.) that both those entities had the same President and/or founder (Eric Kessler from the start was Director of Sixteen Thirty Fund” (formed in 2009) and “New Venture Fund (formed in 2006), the latter name I’d run across before.  The latter one dwarfs the others referenced on this post in size, and (oddly, but I’ve seen it regularly still on this database), “Form 990finder” which kicks out the three most recent tax returns of any found entity (usually), by name search for “New Venture Fund” came up with ZERO results.

Sixteen Thirty Fund Initial Form 990Oreturn takes over $4M and spends $3M+ on grants, with a board of only 3 people, and, starting the pattern, of three subcontractors, one is run by two of the board of directors, using that subcontractor for both Management (there are no employees) AND fund-raising.  The business relationship between ⅔ of the board and a major subcontractor is qualified by stating that this happens “at rates approved by the non-involved board members” which translates to just one person, “Molly Mcusic” and might be part of her purpose there (an air of disinterested credibility? Just kidding — she’s well-known in the conservation & nonprofit circles too).

The grants went to 23 organizations starting with “ACORN” (in Arizona), SEIU, and others you can view, including at least one showing up in the founder’s biography blurb (below) as having been its National Director. The purpose of the organization was stated as “UNITY” as in an “unincorporated coalition of independent 501© organizations” (in three or four images):

Of only 3 board members 2 must report their business relationship (Sched L) since “Yr 1” (FY2009) of Sixteen Thirty Fund. The connection (see last page of tax return, Sched O) is “Arabella Advisors” !!! The only other board member shown (that yr) was Molly McUsic, famous for other conservation-related connex to Clinton Admin + the Wyss Foundation

FY2009 Page 1 TOP, 1st yr of Sixteen Thirty Fund (cf. New Venture Fund changes its name same year, at same street address) notice the amount contribs (and total receipts) + no employees.</span<

Sixteen Thirty Fund, 1st Yr, P2 declares its purposes and mis-classifies (it seems) ALL its contributions as program service revenues — while the same year, New Venture Fund (having just changed its name) reports a similar amount in this position (i.e., P2 Lns 4a) as “revenues” there AND on P1, Line9 (ProgServiceRevs) showing two differing interpretations for the same IRS form blank to be filled in (on p.2).

FY2009 Sixteen Thirty Fund, Pg1 bottom half (overlap of Total Revs, Ln17 shown). Notice that $3.3M is to grants and approaching ¼ to “Other expenses” (See comments). On next page, the same $4.828M will be claimed as program service “revenues” although it’s direct contributions…

The name search not working to locate this New Venture Fund, when I found the EIN# (because Sixteen Thirty Fund had donated $35,000 to it), the EIN# search at 990finder brought up three wrong names in a row (!!), also revealing the total gross assets had tripled within the last two years to over $264M.  Look at the next image — the EIN# (205806345) for all three is identical, meaning, same organization throughout!

New Venture Fund EIN# mis-labeled by “The Foundation Center” 990Finder database (3 names in 3 yrs)… This is the link to the Form 990 for FY2013 (FY=Calendar Year; it ends Dec 31), mis-labeled “Groundswell Fund.” I’ve showed some images from it, and from a FY2010, just below.

In addition, it seems many years the NVF is spending more on its subcontractors — including one which has a prominent relationship and even formerly name relationship (Arabella Investment Advisors, and this was originally the Arabella Legacy Fund) with its founder/President Eric Kessler (and in various years, other employees, as described in their Schedules L – Transactions with Interested Persons) than on its grantmaking, although that grantmaking is still millions of dollars. More details on that, below; it takes comparing parts of returns, and a few more annotated images to show…

Arabella was formed in 2005 (says its website), New Venture Fund (then called “Arabella Legacy Fund”) in 2006 per its tax return, and “Sixteen Thirty Fund” a 501©4 (at same address in DC) in FY2009, and also run by Eric Kessler.**  The business model obviously includes having the “investment managers to philanthropy” (remember, I posted months, maybe a half year ago, on the “Harvard/Bain/Bridgespan model?  Applying BAIN tactics to nonprofits…itself a reflection of the earlier LBOs (leveraged buy-outs, where the brokers continue on boards as part of the deal to help control the turnaround and subsequent organizations…) — I think we’re in it…..

**Officers, or Principals shown on page 1 or signing the return vary over time, but I’m talking about Kessler’s ongoing involvement and being shown at least on Part VIIA listing Officers, Directors, Trustees and Key Employees.

(Pardon the messy annotations — two superimposed images) but by 2013, Arabella Advisors LLC were (#1) receiving $5.5M “independent” subcontractor — although they weren’t so independent that this didn’t have to be reported as an (and the only, that year) “interested person transaction” on a Schedule L, meanwhile, as managing the New Venture Fund (which by then had changed its name from Arabella Legacy Fund) it also held the physical books. Interesting….

[A larger view of one of the superimposed images above]

From a different year but same section of the return, same entity, we see that now Arabella Advisors is getting not “$5M+” (that is, from this nonprofit alone — remember Sixteen Thirty Fund also uses them for management and fundraiser services) but $13M…

Besides, or I should say, including these, it claims 148 Subcontractors paid over $100K. A little math: not including those above, that’s a MINIMUM expense of (143 subcontractors X 100,000) or $14,300,000 more, none of who are listed on the tax return, and which practice (not that only this organization engages in it) kind of defeats the purpose of telling who are the five highest paid. The IRS (or rather, IRCode?) could easily require a “continuation” page as is shown for the officers, directors and trustees, or for the grantees, or other parts of the return — but here, it’s just implicitly assumed that anything one can’t count on the fingers of one hand isn’t worth identifying, per tax-filing entity per year…Were there really 143 MORE subcontractors required by this nonprofit to get the job done?

The rest of Bruce Boyd caption at “Arabella Advisors.” Boyd is mentioned in earlier NVF tax returns. (Bio blurb not all visible at once, thanks to the display technology): Bruce Boyd | Principal and Senior Managing Director .. … has worked with Arabella’s individual, family, foundation, and corporate clients, helping them to effectively and efficiently deploy philanthropic and investment capital. Those engagements have focused on strategic planning, due diligence, program development, implementation, and evaluation of impact. Bruce has worked on regional, national, and international projects stretching across a range of issues, including community development, human rights, education, and the environment. _______ _____ In addition to his work at Arabella, Bruce serves as an advisor to the New Venture Fund and the Hopewell Fund, and on the board of the Windward Fundall 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsors and grant-making intermediaries often used by Arabella clients. [[NEW VENTURE FUND IS AN ARABELLA CLIENT…]] Bruce also serves on the boards of the Morrison Family Foundation, Forefront, and his own family’s foundation. He writes and speaks widely about philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. _____________ Prior to joining Arabella, Bruce served for 13 years as a senior manager at the Nature Conservancy, where he led the Illinois Program, the Upper Mississippi River Project, and the four-continent Great Rivers Partnership. He is also a former member of the board of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, Opportunity International, and the Merit School of Music in Chicago. Bruce started his career in law but left legal practice to buy a manufacturing company out of bankruptcy, which he ran and later sold to a Fortune 500 company. _____________ Bruce graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College, earned his law degree from the University of Chicago, and studied business at Northwestern’s [Also in Chicago Area] Kellogg School of Management.

[I went to New Venture Fund website, listing just a few board of directors, incl. Mr. Kessler. Here’s a profile of another Board member, also from Middlebury College with Chicago experience. Not to become confused; the images are featuring two “Arabella Advisors LLC” key people (Kessler & Boyd), but this is taken from the 501©3, formerly called Arabella Legacy Fund, but now “New Venture Fund” to give a “flavor” of the type of board members involved and their backgrounds: (the different color background inside solid maroon border stands in for usual “blockquote” symbol:

NVF Board of Directors (viewed Sep. 2017)

Eric Kessler, Chair of the Board

Adam Eichberg, Treasurer

Katherine Miller, Secretary

Daryn Dodson

Harry W. Drucker

Thomas R. Gibian

Yanique Redwood

 

Harry W. Drucker
President, Revere Corporation

http://www.newventurefund.org/about-nvf/board-of-directors/ Harry Drucker graduated with a BA in German, summa cum laude, from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, in 1980, and a MBA in finance from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 1984. He also attended and successfully completed the first year of law school at the University of Chicago School Of Law.

In January 1990, Harry formed Revere Corp., a real estate advisory and property management company. In addition, in 1999 he founded North Shore Realty Partners, a real estate partnership formed to purchase and manage all types of real estate. He is its managing general partner. Since its formation, the partnership, which had an initial capitalization of $20 million, has invested over $55 million in various real estate ventures in the United States and Europe.

Harry has been a member of the board of trustees of The Nature Conservancy of Illinois {{cf Bruce Boyd Bio, also on Nature Conservancy as a senior manager for 13 years.}} since 1995 and is currently its vice-chair. From 2001 to 2010, he served on the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, appointed by the governor of Illinois, and served as its chairman for two years. In June 2003 Harry joined the board of directors of the Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest where he currently serves as its chair.

Eric Kessler bio cont’d (for active links to referenced other foundations, see Arabella main website).. Note near the end, he’s trustee for 5th generation family-owned business (which one, not named), and MBA Georgetown, BA Univ. of Colorado, Boulder. While guiding Arabella from a small startup to a company with more than 150 employees in four offices across the country, Eric has focused on helping clients achieve their philanthropic goals by devising strategies, mounting effective advocacy campaigns, evaluating impact, increasing operational efficiency, and designing and implementing impact investing portfolios. Now, with a CEO in place to run the business, Eric is focusing his energy on advising clients who are working to improve our food system through policies and business investments that promote nutritious, sustainable, and affordable food. _________Eric’s interest in the food sector extends well beyond his work at Arabella. He chairs the committee at the James Beard Foundation that oversees efforts to engage the culinary community in advocacy on food policy, and he created the foundation’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change. Eric also co-founded the Chef Action Network and has a personal private equity portfolio invested in businesses at the forefront of improving our food system. _______ In addition to his work at Arabella, Eric founded and serves as chairman of the New Venture Fund, an innovative, independent 501(c)(3) organization that incubates new nonprofits and houses donor collaboratives. Also in the philanthropy sector, he co-founded the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which aims to boost the effectiveness of the billions of dollars spent on disaster-related charity. [and which to NewVentureFund donates ] __________Earlier in his career, Eric served as the national field director for the League of Conservation Voters. {{ditto, major donee still of NVF}} Then, as a White House appointee, he helped manage conservation issues during the Clinton administration. Before that, Eric spent six years with the National Democratic Institute, which sent him to the former Soviet Union, Southeast Asia, and throughout the Middle East to train civic and political leaders on strategies to encourage democratic change.__________ Eric is on the boards of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, the James Beard Foundation, and Chef Action Network. He is a member of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, the Young Presidents’ Organization, Summit Series, and the Bretton Woods Committee. He also serves as a trustee of his own family’s foundation, which holds assets generated by the sale of a fifth-generation family-owned business.{{unnamed..}} _______ Eric holds an Executive MBA from Georgetown University and a BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

So regarding various projects (including here, EVERYCRSReport.com), the relationships are not just about “project — collaborators — collaborators’ fiscal agents, collaborators’ various namechanges over time” but also about the funneling of millions of dollars THROUGH the organizations TO the organizations’ subcontractors with operational and ownership ties to the funding entity, forming miniature “empires” and routing, re-routing of (tax-exempt to the 501©3, tax-deductible to the donors for 501©3s anyhow) groups, several of these in the DC (Virginia, Maryland) area.

(Arabella Advisors, LLC — I believe, formerly “Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors, LLC), with the New Venture Fund having originally been created one year AFTER this LLC, and been named “Arabella Legacy Fund.” Meanwhile, about one year later, the real estate markets would collapse (2008) through overspeculation… and people started losing their homes…

Also, how many smaller entities are controlled by (boards of directors or founders) the same people, even without enough board similarity to be legally required to report them as “related entities” or dealings with them as “transactions with interested persons…”

The real question for me in this “New Venture Fund” is who are its primary funders.  There seems no lack of money flowing to and through it year after year, starting with a “modest” ½ million, and now assets are up to $264M gross – -in only about nine years.  The balance sheets show those millions are NOT being actively invested in the normal places on a Form 990 (lines 10, 11, 12, and “other”).  It’s literally, it seems, investing in those it’s donating to — and of course in beefing up any involved subcontractors, including Arabella. … Which has offices now in (see image).

For my own disclaimer (not that the “Donate” button is active, typically), I am a single, individual blogger who recently paid to upgrade and obtain “FamilyCourtMatters.org” as opposed to the previous “FamilyCourtMatters.Wordpress.com” domain name.  I did this mostly because the earlier version had run out of file upload capacity since I learned how to post images (screenprints) that could be viewed without clicking on a pdf link and began enthusiastically doing so, all the time
There are no other blog administrators or even bloggers on this website, and never have been.  A donation of any size sent through the buttons made available here goes to me by way of registration with WordPress, and is not tax-deductible because while I research nonprofits, I have not formed one and this blog’s “DONATE” button does not connect to one!  Nor am I running a 501©4 nonprofit with donations that aren’t tax deductible. If this changes (not likely!), this will be made clear on the top post of the blog, or wherever else I may be seeking tax-deductible donations for some future worthy project.

Post title:  EVERYCRSReport.com: a PROJECT of Demand Progress (a 501©3 + 501©4 each w fiscal agent~New Venture Fund, Sixteen Thirty Fund), the R Street Institute (formerly DC Progress) and Will the Real Sponsors Pls!! For a Change Step From Behind Their Fiscal Agents, wearing Corporate ID – NameTags showing their Home States, and Ages too?)

How we got here — I was just looking for another reference on CRS reports on the Reorganization Act, remembering that the Congressional Research Services (“CRS”) had at least a few on the topic.  EVERYCRS.com however is no government website.

This intriguing setup has too many players.  Rather than straighten them out on the original page for an object lesson, I’ve made it into an “extra credit” appendix to the main point — what’s the point of these arrangements in the first place?  And how common it is.


(This was my 3rd reference to the Reorganization Act on the originating post, but it’s the publication in which I found it that grabbed my interest.  Below is a section overlapping the originating post (with the four images and brief paragraph afterwards)…

CRS? Order Code RL30876 (EveryCRSReport.com), 3/1/2001, author name redacted but also by CRS. Note the final disclaimer page — EVERYCRSReport.com is NOT a government website or affiliated with the CRS, and “it” claims no copyright.  It simply wishes to make the reports public:

Order Code RL30876 (EveryCRSReport.com), 3/1/2001 (#1 of about 4 images)

Order Code RL30876 (EveryCRSReport.com), 3/1/2001 (#2 of about 4 images)

Order Code RL30876 (EveryCRSReport.com), 3/1/2001 (#3 of about 4 images, note: this report dated 2001 only has events up to 1984…)

Order Code RL30876 (EveryCRSReport.com), 3/1/2001 (Disclaimer page probably at end of every report).

Exploring that (EveryCRS.com) link only for a few paragraphs (and images) highlights again the difficulty (if only the extra time it takes!) of tracking who, really, supports which causes once nonprofits, or the 501©3 – 501©4 + (beyond that) use of fiscal agents gets involved:  How would you diagram these relationships, if there was a need to do so, for 3rd party cognitive comprehension in reference to an identified cause (cases in point, but it could be almost any cause, such as global tobacco cessation efforts, or marriage promotion, diversion of criminal prosecutions into problem-solving courts, and so forth — it could be ANY cause…)?

Exploring that (EveryCRS.com) link only for a few paragraphs (and images) highlights again the difficulty (if only the extra time it takes!) of tracking who, really, supports which causes once nonprofits, or the 501©3 – 501©4 + (beyond that) use of fiscal agents gets involved:  How would you diagram these relationships, if there was a need to do so, for 3rd party cognitive comprehension in reference to an identified cause (cases in point, but it could be almost any cause, such as global tobacco cessation efforts, or marriage promotion, diversion of criminal prosecutions into problem-solving courts, and so forth — it could be ANY cause…)?

First, EVERYCRSREPORT.com is a PROJECT (not an entity) of Demand Progress (which, collectively is the 501©3 / 4 combo)

Who we are || EveryCRSReport.com is a project of Demand Progress in collaboration with the Congressional Data Coalition — a bipartisan coalition founded by Demand Progress and the R Street Institute to promote open legislative information.

Interesting.  That information is about where I decided the outline of who’s who behind this project (sic) should be off-ramped to diagram the outlines and told readers to look for a title referencing “EVERYCRS.COM, Demand Project, R Street Institute “and friends, fiscal agents” (and/or board member affiliations).  You are now on that off-ramped outline post.  


EveryCRS.com is a “bipartisan” effort only because one side is notably left-wing, progressive, and the other (less obviously so, but still) characteristically right-wing conservative.  Both are working of course through nonprofits with board members who have a number of different relationships in their portfolios…. R Street is the right-wing side…

The R Street Institute, EIN#263477125, was only formed in Oct. 2008 (FYE still Dec.), and it seems to have skipped filing tax return for FY2014.  (FY2008, the first year the IRS Form 990 asked “legal domicile, year founded, and (a breakdown of how many employees); for FY2010 and 2011 it filed Forms 990EZ (which didn’t ask those questions); changed its name AND stated legal domicile from DC (2008) to VA back to DC and address, most years.  Form 990 FY2014 not found in any format (no Form 990-N filings electronic post-card found). The tax return indicating “name change” is missing.   The original name was “DC Progress”  The first filing spelled its current chairman’s (Elias Rothenberg-Lehrer) wrong, with an “H” instead of an “L”).

Original board DC Progress members Christian Robey has definite conservative connections (Pacific Research Institute in California (3 different cities), MRC (Media Research Center in Virginia with a related Action Fund)/ its project “Newsbusters” to counter the left-wing media (etc.); original board member Virginia Walden Ford identifies with the DailySignal.com and (IN-based) “EdChoice”).

{{IMAGES NOT PROVIDED PRE-PUBLICATION, PLEASE USE SEARCH TERMS INDEPENDENTLY TO LOCATE IF YOU CAN’T WAIT.  WHAT I DO ISN’t “ROCKET SCIENCE,” but more like “DUE DILIGENCE DIGGING” and NOTICING certain kinds of DETAILS…LGH//9-21-2017.}}

Meanwhile, the “Demand Progress” side of the equation is definitely leaning Blue, Progressive, and Democrat.  I saw besides a coalition and at least two different organizations acting as fiscal agents for each (the 501©3 and the 501©4) versions of Demand Progress.  As interesting as this is, and symptomatic, it’s less gripping than other information on [the originating] post, I believe….and so it’s been moved off-post, sequestered, off-ramped, and moved [here.]



Form 990s:

IRS Exempt Organization Select Check page (I’d been looking for the missing Form 990 as possibly a Form 990-N filing, or “revoked” however it’d filed Forms 990EZ for two out of the three years which (had it been 3 years in a row non-filing) would’ve subjected the entity to being IRS-status-revoked. However, with revenues reported on FY2015 as “Prior Year” over $2M, til further notice, FY2014 does seem to be missing….//LGH 9-7-2017.


When soliciting donations, DemandProgress’ “secure giving” is through “ActBlueCivics” which courteously reveals and even provides contact information for which states it’s registered under; that it is a “charitable organization”; that donations are not tax-deductible (i.e., it’s probably a 501©4…); and how many billions ($1.7B) it’s collected since 2004.  (Scroll down on its website to see to see more) —  but just not which one is the home legal domicile (or what’s it’s EIN# or that EIN#s are even a point of reference for charitable organizations  — which type of and “specific to the organization” information is  ALWAYS important, relevant, and leads to more relevant, sometimes colid  information about the service-provider, on-line or off-line, and often about the accountability and other characteristics of its leadership.

The page logo (DEMAND PROGRESS ACTION) at top involves a closed, horizontal fist and if clicked on, links to another project described as funded by two other, presumably nonprofit entities. I thought this might be mildly entertaining, symptomatic of the whole field of coalitions, cooperations, and entities versus their projects.  Either just drop off your money and let it slide out of consciousness (or, don’t) or, follow through and attempt to sort out who’s whom in the mix.  “Good luck with the latter….” but it’s safe to hypothesize that this “nonpartisan” effort is “Democratically” as in the political spectrum, motivated, if not sponsored…

Our Mission

Demand Progress is a fiscally-sponsored project of New Venture Fund, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, and Demand Progress Action is a fiscally-sponsored project of Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501(c)4 social welfare organization. Demand Progress is a national grassroots group with two million affiliated activists who fight for basic rights and freedoms needed for a modern democracy.

We work to win progressive policy changes for ordinary people through organizing and grassroots lobbying. We focus on issues of civil liberties, civil rights, and government reform.

We run online campaigns to rally people to take action on the news that affects them — by contacting Congress and other leaders, funding pressure tactics, and spreading the word in their own communities.

We work in Washington to provide an advocate for the public in all the decisions that affect our lives

I looked up this tax return below, but a fund-raising detail from “Demand Progress Action Fund” reveals a California Connection:

Demand Progress Action (FY2013) used CEL (Citizen Engagement Laboratory) in Berkeley, CA (it’s a small world in progressive politics…?) which I blogged — searchable on this post. There was a 501©3 and ©4 switching funds back and forth. My dim (?) recall is that this entity had a connection to the surviving Wellstone brothers (i.e., not in the fatal plane crash that killed their progressive parents Sen. Paul Wellstone and Sheila, and a sister), and the predecessor was a D.C. organization. I DNR exactly but it’s probably searchable on this blog (top right sidebar feature).

I had studied “Citizen Engagement Laboratory” (a 501©4 filing Form 990O‘s, and the related (Sched-R) Citizen Engagement Laboratory Education Fund (a 501©3 filing Form 990s) a while back, and noticed that millions of dollars moved, rapidly, back and forth between these two entities only formed in 2008 (the “©4” and 2011 (the “©3”; per tax returns; see respective tax returns for more info.).  Notice which one is showing more assets when, and the difference in EIN#s and names:

FY2013, the 990O filer (=501©4) shows gross assets $9.4M+, which it quickly offloaded onto the 501©3 formed only in 2011 (first year of operations apparently 2012), leaving the 501©4 with much less showing the following year.

After adding this section, I looked up their California Charitable Registrations by Name-Search first, and found that apparently the Form 990 search database above, while I’m thankful for the search results highlighting the two related entities, again does not show the legal business name (unless the change has been just since 2015).  Here are two search results from California OAG RCT (Registered Charity Trust, a familiar website if you follow this blog) showing one has “CEL” written out, but the other (the 501©3) uses the acronym “CEL” instead.  They can be correlated with the image above by EIN# shown on both search results:

One year, one is taking responsibility for all the employees (on its VIIA); another year, it might be the other one.  This is seen by looking at and comparing the tax returns. One year, a source of income might be millions of dollars “Private Contributions” (on a Part VIII Line 1f, a sub-item); another year, several million might be coming in from “related organizations” (Part VIII Line 1, Line 1d, a different sub-item) on the IRS returns.  For that, see next two images:

This is a “CEL” entity: FY2013, Pt VII Revenues shows $11.26M coming in on Part VIII Line 1d from “Related Organizations.” You are looking at the 501©4 tax return…

The same year, other showing a very large amount coming in from the Line 1f, “Other” (i.e., non-government, i.e., “private” contributions) TO the 501©3, which year it then quickly passed through $11M+ to its related 501©4, AND large amounts to three other entities, including two I’ve been posting on, NVF (a 501©3) and Demand Progress Action (a 501©4).  Header info showing EIN# is missing on the actual return, but my image grabs part of the browser address, or “url,” which shows the EIN# in part of that address window, inside the gray frame at top of image:

Neither organization is self-sustaining through program service revenues.  I also noticed that most of CEL’s (at this point, DNR which one’s, probably the 501©3s) subcontractors, after earlier years with one in Naperville IL called “We Also Walk Dogs” for CRM Services, were in the D.C. area (DC, VA and one in NY) — not California, where the legal domicile and offices are.

When I couldn’t quickly find my earlier “CEL” work (including whether or not I’d blogged it), I simply looked up the EIN#s again and did a quick review.  In the process I found one of the entities donating to BOTH “New Venture Fund” (more than once) AND “Demand Action Progress.  So here, as a post-publication (9/23/2017 added) update is some of that info. in just a few images:

In 2014, the CEL 501©4 gave $8.4M to its own related organization, the CEL Education Fund 501©3 (as this Sched. I from the Form 990 shows). The same year, this 501©4 showed an $8M (Revs – Expenses) deficit on the bottom of its Page 1 Summary.

Meanwhile, CEL Education Fund (the larger, 501©3) Form 990 FY2014 shows two minor grants for New Venture Fund and Demand Progress Action on its Schedule I; however an earlier shows much larger grant to NVF, which in ITS FY2013 (shown in separate image on EVERYCRS.com post) used CEL for a fundraiser…and NVF claims “Demand Progress Action” is one of its projects.

Here’s the image showing the earlier, larger (over ½ million dollars) grants to Demand Progress Action:


That was just a taste of CEL activities in a few short years of either entity’s existence.  On looking up the Allston Street Address, the other context is coming back to me (although it’d been lingering in the bck of my consciousness while compiling some of the above.   A “Green from the Ground Up” building in Berkeley closely connected with “the Earth Institute,” (as I recall) and called “The David Brower Center” is particularly eager to house environmentally-conscious nonprofits. (See “Current resident list” which no longer includes Citizen Education Laboratory (unless it’s changed its name; note I have no tax return past FY2015). The images should give an idea, otherwise, there’s another link:


Part of Calif. OAG Charitable Details page for CEL Education Fund (inc. 8/2011) and how long (and how many threats) it took the state OAG to get the required documents. Some of the face pages from the items shown on this page are displayed below (9/21/2017 EveryCRS.com post, original place shown)

The IRS Form 990-N for FY2011, its first year, is found. The RRF later submitted to the State (Calif. OAG) said 0 revenues or assets, while the Form 1023 (Charity Application Financial Statement page) submitted two years earlier acknowledged $15K, but the Form 990 for 2012 showed prior year “0.” Minor difference(?), but if I had a choice between having $15K, or not having $15K, I know I’d pick having it, and I’ll be any family on welfare also would…!!

California’s OAG really had to chase down the 501©3 to get its registration in, including three “notices to register” and two “intents to suspend” (for failure to provide first, FY2011 and 2012 info, secondly, FY2011 info — which I notice at some point in time (the IRS Website where found doesn’t show date filed) as having done a Form 990-N, Revenues not more than $50,000.  Thereafter, it was the larger of the two organizations throughout.  I clicked on many links as shown in this image; the attempts to get CEL Education Fund to “straighten up and fly right” spanned more than one Attorney General’s tenure (from Kamala Harris to Xavier Becerra, current California AG), and includes their pursuit of $150 fees for late-filing of the documents which almost go them suspended; AFTER this is a request for something pertaining to 2015 (!!).   One starts to wonder about what kind of ballet, dance or tango goes on between various nonprofits and this office… and how they decide whom to go after, and whom to let slide…

April 3, 2014 “Second Notice to Register” (one of two labeled “Second Notice” on their face, although the upload on “Details” page calls this the “Third Notice To Register

NOTICE TO REGISTER” Nov. 27, 2013 asking for basic stuff and indicating they can’t receive financial reports before it registers. And one of the program services for this or its related-entity is serving as fiscal agents to make sure nonprofit registries are properly filed for the various projects….?

Dec. 24, 2013 “Second Notice to Register” for CEL Educ. Fund in Berkeley (Suite #360 on Allston Way = in the Brower Center building).

April 15, 2014, finally registered! (by now its doing millions of dollars of business, inbound and outbound, starting back in 2013)… BUT WHERE ARE THE RECORDS for 2011 and 2013 (two kinds of each?) and the accompanying fees? says the OAG.

Sept. 2014 (now into second year of OAG’s begging for info, or rather, demanding it….) Self-explanatory — where’s that info for their Initial Year, 2011? (990 and RRF both). (Related dox schedule shows they eventually got this the following March, 2015, declaring “nada” — (a $15K discrepancy on contributions with their earlier-filed Form 1023)…

Dec. 2014, second Warning, self-explanatory…

Feb. 2015, “OK, now we’re seriously pissed and are going to suspend or revoke you over the missing 2011 info…”

(My image didn’t pick up the OAG send-date, but you can see the March 31, 2015 deadline to pay the late fees of (only, for an organization this size) $150..This looks more like a light slap on the fingers, however, I look at 501© details regularly, and don’t see many notices like this one….

Now it’s Feb. 2017, and the OAG wants its $125.00 fee to go with the FY2014 (FYE 12/31/2015 in the letter = FY2014 for the organization)…So glad to know all those accelerated, incubated, supported, and fiscal-agented projects involving CEL Education Fund are in good hands…For which hands, visit the 990s and look at the boards of directors… For some of the other partner entities (such as the Ford Foundation or Open Society Foundations) with one or the other of the CEL nonprofits, see the website).

the 501©4 website descriging the new 501©3, not that it provides any financials for either (anywhere) on its website, that I can see, or a clue — like an EIN#. Notice the inset photo shows the Suite 360 (2150 Allston Way, which is in Berkeley, CA) address.

Citizen Education Lab’s “Acceleration Services Partners” include Demand Progress (second row from top, right side)..

besides Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations, the entity “Asian Americans Advancing Justice” (AAAJ) comes up in another post, near this one, when I noticed a retired Minnesota State Senator (Mee Moua, serving 2002-2012) on “Governance the Final Frontier” 2013 publication by the “NCSC.” Post context seen on a recently published (9/18/2017) page now accessible through the right sidebar under “Vital Links/Chrono-Alpha” sidebar, which is pretty far down on the right side of my blog..


That concludes my “Citizen Engagement Lab/CEL Education Fund” post-publication 9/23/2017 insert to this post.  As a reminder, the organizations I am studying chose to use the “CEL” (for short) as a fund-raiser, after which I noticed the same fundraiser was donating directly to New Venture Fund and to its (per the on-line statement at Demand Action Progress) “fiscally sponsored project”, Demand Action Progress. Below this line continues the 9/21/2017 post as written:


So the primary players here are more likely “New Venture Fund” and “Sixteen Thirty Fund”

Total results: 3Search Again.

ORGANIZATION NAME ST YR FORM PP TOTAL ASSETS EIN
SIXTEEN THIRTY FUND DC 2015 990O 39 $6,667,545.00 26-4486735
SIXTEEN THIRTY FUND DC 2014 990O 86 $9,157,873.00 26-4486735
SIXTEEN THIRTY FUND DC 2013 990O 29 $3,158,689.00 26-4486735

This entity only formed in (it says) 2009 and has VERY few officers, and its books are in the care of a major subcontractor “Arabella Advisors, LLC” ($201K FY2013?) which admits this is an interested transaction as director Eric Kessler and former director Brian Kathman are involved in Arabella.

Also, in a year it received suddenly more money ($5.2M), it spent fully $1.3M (a good part!) on grants — most ($850K) of this going to “League of Conservation Voters” and $35K to New Venture Fund — yet page 2 of “program service activities” which has blanks for “including grants of” includes NO grants amounts, despite how many other detailed descriptions it has…. Here’s that Schedule I list of nice, progressive grantees:

 ## ** ## **


One entity only (see EIN#) DNK why 4 yrs shown. Interactive version of this table is below. (one is a screenprint, the other “copy & paste” to the blog; table colors are diff’t according to my keeping the prior color scheme from this website for consistency in my blogging since 2009).

This search on “ActBlue” only brought up a new, 2015 only filing for a Form 990 (see top row)

But for on-line solicitations, again, “ActBLUE and “ActBlueCivics, Inc.” look like Massachusetts domicile corporations, with the latter having only started up in 2012, and a ScheduleR “related tax-exempt entities actually list several different EIN#s all attached to a SINGLE PO Box in ______ MA:

Despite (FY2012) marking “0” employees, Executive Director Erin Hill made $150K (+ benefits).  $192K in “pass-through revenues” were considered “program service revenues” (in addition to just plain old contributions, I guess), in part because the exempt purposes is creating innovative ways of fund-raising (??).

Total results: 4Search Again.

ORGANIZATION NAME ST YR FORM PP TOTAL ASSETS EIN
ACTBLUE CIVICS INC MA 2015 990O 31 $722,949.00 45-5097938
ACTBLUE CIVICS INC MA 2014 990O 22 $263,817.00 45-5097038
ACTBLUE CIVICS INC MA 2013 990O 18 $104,496.00 45-5097038
Actblue Civics Inc. MA 2012 990O 23 $148,307.00 45-5097038

All these are Schedule R Tax-Exempt (Part II) entities listed on the tax return for 2nd year of operation of ActBlueCivics, Inc. (FY2013) (!)

  • ActBlue Federal is EIN# 20-1135377
  • ActBlue Technical Services (controlled by “Federal”) is EIN# 27-0160261
  • ActBlue Non-Federal (controlled by “Federal”) is EIN# 20-2517748
  • ActBlue Non-Federal Exempt (controlled by “Federal”) is EIN# 20-2686259

Here they are (assuming I find them all, using “copy + paste” feature EIN# search..):

EIN#20-1135377 — Not Found ( after removing the “-” as directed, no results).  EIN#27-0160261, no results.   EIN# 20-2517748 – only one result for FY2010, a Form 990O-filer; total assets -$55.00K.  The header is not filled out completely, it claims start year of 2005 and is processing political contributions for Democrat state-level candidates as described on the tax return.  Earlier years returns hard to locate. Type of entity not checked on the header info (i.e., 501©3 etc.) but from context it’s a 501©4, looks like.

EIN# 20-2686259 —  not found.

See IMAGE of Forms 990 above the “Table” —  Namesearch on “ActBlue” only found a different EIN# (not listed above) called “ActBlue Charities, EIN#47-3739141 FY2015 (and the only one filing a straight “990” vs. “990O)”  This one has a street address (not just PO Box) and the lone tax return says it got its 1023 (IRS Exemption) only in 2015, was founded in 2015, and didn’t begin operations until 2016 (but recorded $200K contributions and $2,685 expenses), under the control of Erin Hill, whose name is on most of the organizations….  <=== I provided the link with the EIN# above, click to read more details on it.

So, let’s make that a total of six (6) entities over time (found so far by searching Form 990 database and looking at the Schedule R showing “related tax-exempt entities” on some of the same).  ActBlue Charities (just started 2015, or should we make that 2016?, ActBlueCivics filing a Form 990O, which mentions several other controlled entities (even providing four different EIN#s, of which I only located a single year’s filing for just one of them, ActBlue Non-Federal…)

DEMAND PROGRESS ACTION, the 990s RECORD (Formed 2012 per Form 990)

Total results: 3Search Again.

ORGANIZATION NAME ST YR FORM PP TOTAL ASSETS EIN
Demand Progress Action MD 2015 990O 30 $827,077.00 46-1493219
Demand Progress Action MD 2014 990O 24 $732,905.00 46-1493219
Demand Progress Action MD 2013 990O 28 $364,091.00 46-1493219

This one is referencing a related entity by the EXACT same name (and at same address) in its Schedule Rs, while also referencing “fiscal agent” fees under expenses.  Which is just “weird.”

The EIN# given for the mysterious “related” entity on at least two of the above returns is: EIN# 273372724 not found in 990finder search).  The third return I checked had a single-digit change in EIN# to 27-3371724, but still the exact same legal name which is an impossibility for two different entities in the same state.  Neither were found.  In case this was supposed to be a 501©3, I also checked (both #s) at all 3 available search buttons on IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check (and got nothing).

EIN# 273372724, no search results found on “990finder”

EIN# 273371724, no results found on “990finder.”

Key officers David Segal and David Moon, Founded “2012” (but no return for that year found yet; though FY2013 showing “0” prior year contributions wasn’t marked “initial return..”  Click on above table and look for the “Schedule R, Pt. II” fine print, after the tax Return Parts I – XII come the Schedules A… (however many are required any given year…, alpha order).

Good progress in “Total Assets” I notice — $364K, $732K, $827K… not bad…

Finally I went to the State of Maryland “DAT” (Dept of Assessments and Taxation) and found not two, but just ONE entity named Demand Progress (anything — it was “Action, Inc.”), and that it was status “not in good standing” (for having not filed its PPR, Personal Property Reports, since 2015).

MD business entity search results excerpt (alpha) showing only one “Demand Progress Action, Inc.”

To check any of the above, use URL on top of image to repeat this search or do any others…

Filing record (p1 only) founding articles (see nearby pdf for all 3 pp)

Filing history tab — (no amendmts or name changes shown)

Demand Action Progress 2012 Articles of Incorp (showing Encino CA Nikki Steen filed + ? paid the 220 fees?) Currently NOT in Good Standing in MD (3pp) DavidSegal of RI, David Moon of MD  (pls. click to read)

There is a primary individual supporter (could be a person or corporation or trust) (shown by public-disclosure copy of Schedule B of “Excess Contributors” for 2014 and 2015 (for some reason, the organization didn’t volunteer its year 2013 Form 990) which while redacted, show one year, a contribution of $440K, and another, of both $150K + $90K.

Demand Progress FY2015, Page 1 (most) showing most expenses going to “other” and just a few employees. Inconsistent reporting of Program Service Revenues (p.1 with p.2) and “details” of it on Pt. VIII Ln2 declines to state “for what,” re-typing in the category label rather than describing for what it was paid $157K for. Under its “Other Expenses” shown here (largest category), most of them also were (Pt. IX Revenues) Line 11g “Other expenses” requiring detailing on Sched O. Sched O did provide some details of other categories, but not for “program services…”

Click Image to Enlarge if needed. Some anomalies: The 501©4 Demand Progress Action Inc gives itself three different EIN#s on all its tax returns (so far I’ve looked at 3 different years’, two of them also on the entity website). ALL show their own Sched R entity to have the exact same name (and legal domicile) “related entity” and even be receiving some funds (around $30K) from it at times, giving this other entity a completely different EIN# which differs in 2015 by a single digit. Bd of Directors is said to receive 990s for review and hasn’t fixed this since 2013 (and where is FY2012 return?). Apparently it also doesn’t bother whoever donated (Sched B images here + below) $440K, $75K, $65K or $11K, etc.) [minor Sched B amts not shown in my screenprints]

click to enlarge, see comments on other Sched B caption.

Click if needed to enlarge; see longer caption on other Sched B image for Demand Progress Action, Inc. in MD, EIN# 46-1493219 header.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Let's Get Honest

September 21, 2017 at 7:57 pm

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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