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UPDATE: Truth Initiative Financial Statements (YEJune2018) Surface Within 24 Hours of My Post Noting Their Odd Absence (This Update Publ. Aug. 16, 2019)

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UPDATE: Truth Initiative Financial Statements (YEJune2018) Surface Within 24 Hours of My Post Noting Their Odd Absence (This Update Publ. Aug. 16, 2019). (short-link ends “-aGH” about 2,000 words).The cartoons are cute, but the missing information wasn’t…


I also (below left) don’t particularly appreciating seeing typos in basic English four-letter words which are to be linking to how a major public program, ongoing now these twenty years at least, is managing itself and with itself, the public interest…. while investing in (it says here) five different countries outside the USA (not major amounts shown, but still…) (below, right).

(Reminder: what’s now “Truth Initiative” was formerly “American Legacy Foundation” and before that, I just learned, “MSA Foundation” when first formed in 1999).

For why we’re bothering to update, please take another** look at some of the numbers on the FY2002 tax return of the organization whose independently audited financials I just couldn’t find on its own website, clicking on the link which said “audited financials.”

Gross RECEIPTS $8.8 billion; some were sold (at a loss of $35M) this year, but the revenues came in the first place from governments which had received money as a result of major class action lawsuit.  It looks to me like the tobacco revenues from the settlement went TO the states, which then (see “Gov’t grants below”) funneled them to this organization started in 1999 and, you’ll see below, by 2002 had already changed its legal business name and moved…

**(if you read my last post, or read them on your own)..

American Legacy Foundation (now called “Truth Initiative Foundation, “EIN#911956621) Form 990 FY2002, #1 of 13 excerpts (Screenshots taken July 30, 2017, accessed from FoundationCenter.org database), for posting Aug. 13, 2019. Gallery format, use navigation arrows or click on any image).

Within just four years (1998-2001, next image) at over $275M grants (probably mostly gov’t grants — but I don’t have those years’ returns:  it’s hard to find tax returns before 2000, and the earliest I could find (without writing the organization and asking for them) was FY2002.

Each Form 990 typically has this Schedule A of Support, and shows (itemizing by what kind) receipts for the past several years.  So by 2002 you can see (Image 5 below) the total contributions alone had reached over one billion.  And, somehow (see above), the organization had acquired over $8 billion which it felt fine to off-load at a loss of that size.

While (Image 6, below that) spending $87 million on contracted services and almost $2.5 million on Investment fees. I’ve already posted these images August 14.

Image 5

Image 6 This shows (see “$87M” amount) that the largest amount of “Other Expenses” is just not going to be, and was not, identified. “Contract Services” of this size deserve better labeling. This tells viewers next to nothing substantial about who got the money. See earlier pages for what portion of total Expenses it was this year…

So wouldn’t it be nice to have audited financial statements around the stewardship of this level of resources for a public-interest project?

Having now got my hands on (well, seen the pdf showing) these financials, I felt I should update my post saying they were “M.I.A.”

(“Missing In Action”).

I took the updated material here, as the simplest solution.  There may be a more graceful way to either integrate the update into my previous post or transition smoothly to here, but I opted this time for speed, having already spent about a day on the live “update-screen shot — annotate — integrate — look up some more details” process.

The original post was supposed to be a quick one, en route to another one.

This update only samples from the financial statements (though I did read through them and have provided the link so you also can).  You’ll see I started looking for the accounting firm RSM US LLP which did the audit. Subsequent searches for its registration (in Illinois/shown here) and later Minnesota, confirmed my sense something was a little “off.”

I got as far as a business filing for (auditor’s) that exact name in Minnesota (good for about only one month in 2015/not shown here) and despite the website, zero registration of it in Illinois, although it shows up as managing several others.   We’re talking a global brand in accounting, too.

Inside the orange box is transition (at the prior post) after the update.  That update is now here, and I’m about to go back and delete from THERE…  Confused yet?

MOVING ON, the next section announces I have to update it, followed by a section my doing so. That basically describes this post.  I took the update here, and a link to this post will replace its former space there.

My formerly smooth transition (?) into an existing post,

began, and now for this one, begins:

Update on What?: See end of post title.. “What’s happening to the Tobacco MSA Billions? . . . Audited Financial Statements Promised but Not Produced (Publ. Aug. 14, 2019).(shortlink ends “-aE7”, about 8,855 words, including the following insert explaining that I just found what the title says, couldn’t be found.  

NOTE: This is an update, not a retraction.  I keep records via screenprints, and will double-check my own various screenprints — because it was so odd that a link promising financial statements didn’t (at the time) produce them.  I also noticed (via “statcounter”) two government entities (U.S. Department of the Treasury and State of Minnesota, which comes up in one of the nonprofits discussed below) on my (i.e., this) blog August 15 (after publishing Aug. 14).

However, meanwhile, I feel obligated to post the functional link to at least the:

Truth Initiative Foundation & Affiliate Consolidated Audited Financial Report | Title page (with url displayed at the top)

~ |(just adding some space here)| ~


Within one day after publishing {{What’s happening to the Tobacco MSA Billions? From American Legacy Foundation (2002 Form 990 for EIN #911956621) to ‘Truth Initiative Foundation’ (Same Entity, New Name), Audited Financial Statements Promised but Not Produced. (Publ. Aug. 14, 2019)}}, I finally found’ em, at (as I recall) the same link I’d tried earlier (in 2017 and in 2019 just before publishing). This section describes that and posts a sample.  While I can’t take any personal responsibility for these now being made suddenly available where they weren’t just a few days ago, I’m glad to be able to read them; at least those ending FYE June 30, 2018 and 2017.  That means that the FYE June 2019 — we might expect sometime in mid-to-late 2020, at this rate (with a six-month delay after independent auditor’s letter is dated)?   **I did save screenprints from prior attempts (clicking on the same links).  Since I publicized this post, I’ll also publicize (re-tweet) the “found ’em” update!

UPDATE Thu Aug. 15, 2019: In the usual “post-publication review,” I again tested the same ‘TruthIniative.org’ labeled link which had looped back to the start previously, and uploaded from the same place, its Audited Financial Statements FYE June 2018 (which is to say, for Fiscal Year 2017).

(See also near bottom of this post.  This is the first time I’ve been able to lay eyes on them.  From this link:


As I even now view the url providing this, it doesn’t read as above (when I “select-all & copied & pasted it to this post just now).  It reads (transcribed while looking at the open tab’s url):

“https://TruthInitative.org/sites/default/files/media/files/2019/03/Truth%Initiative%20Foundation%2…”[<~=as far as I can see].

Internally, the auditor’s report said Consolidated Statements available since Sept. 27, 2018.  Did the organization wait a half-year (or more) to post them, that is until just within two or three months of the next fiscal year end (June 30, 2019,  which’d be “2019/06”)– and then not at the normal labeled link? (See next six images).

This two-up, six-image gallery (quick excerpts) highlights the url upload date (?) and the odd entity naming conventions.  Because this information was found after a full post already published, although I’ve gone through the whole document, I’m not commenting here on the numbers (financials).  However, now that I have access to its financial statements and their notes, please notice “Note 1” (for any organization, always!), which references not one, but two different master settlement agreements resulting in the creation of the (giant) 501©3 now called Truth Initiative Foundation.  The MSA, which I keep referencing, and the STMSA (Smokeless Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement).  I’m not current enough on research I did in 2017 to recall if when that was (I thought it came later; this particular note doesn’t date it).

Another thing I’d like to point out, other than the delay in producing these (apparently) is the skirting specifically naming of the existence of a real estate holding company, i.e., M Street Holdings, LLC, on the cover page, introductory letter, and basically, until Notes to the Financial Statements.  This is the “Affiliate” in question.  Note 1 explains it; title page, independent auditor’s letter (i.e., a sort of transmittal or cover letter to the report).  It’s also a bit odd, I think, how the cover page calls it a single “Report” while the contents are referred to (more standard terminology I believe) as “Financial Statements,” plural.

First two images are Clean Copy/Annotated Copy of the same screenshot, with attention to naming conventions (not the money).  The second two are pp. 1 and 2 of the transmittal letter; the third two (the first colorfully annotated) are the pp. 1 (annotated) and 2 (“Clean copy”) of Note 1. They are not identical content; the one marked “Clean Copy” is in fact a continuation, my initial error).. I deliberately left some of the windowframe (showing url) in several of the images); at least one has the Date & Time Stamp (from my laptop), though for some reason not the year.

I quickly looked for the accounting firm, “RSM US, LLP” which I see is in Chicago. Two entries (including one Wikipedia) were informative, but read “sounds like an advertisement” “sounds too close to the source.” An RSM.global (footer) explains it this way, FYI:

Legal – RSM International Ltd.

Any articles or publications contained within this website are not intended to provide specific business or investment advice. No responsibility for any errors or omissions nor loss occasioned to any person or organisation acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this website can, however, be accepted by the author(s) or RSM International. You should take specific independent advice before making any business or investment decision.

RSM is the brand used by a network of independent accounting and consulting firms, each of which practices in its own right. The network is not itself a separate legal entity of any description in any jurisdiction. The network is administered by RSM International Limited, a company registered in England and Wales (company number 4040598) whose registered office is at 50 Cannon Street, London, EC4N 6JJ. The brand and trademark RSM and other intellectual property rights used by members of the network are owned by RSM International Association, an association governed by article 60 et seq of the Civil Code of Switzerland whose seat is in Zug.

(I am storing that quote here for now, will move it soon..//LGH).  This connect to the US firm, which I see has a Chicago address.  The RSM initials each refer to a different country, with the “M” being ‘McGladrey” in the USA.  Reference to “Middle market” focus, and a former partnership with H&R Block…   This setup (RSM International) only dates I THINK, to 1993, but cannot say for sure.  Look it up yourself!).

At any rate, that’s who the organization now called Truth Initiative Foundation had do its FYE2018 and 2017 (comparison)  audit, as you can see...

(For now this link lets you search Corporations or LLCs in Illinois: https://www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/CorporateLlcController

This requires some follow-up.  My brief look (today is now August 16) above for anything “RSM US” showed several entities — all of which I clicked on, and several of which stated that the AUDITOR for the TRUTH INITiATIVE shown above, “RSM US LLP” was the manager (or one of two managers) at a certain Chicago address, of the other various LLPs or LLCs (see next image).  However RSM US LLP didn’t show up.

Public articles (including the criticized “Wiki”) said it moved from Bloomington, MN; I saw some with address in Minneapolis (nearby), and the entities (LLCs or LLPs) listed being marked “Foreign.”  There was also an RSM US Foundation (formerly “McGladrey Foundation”).

Here’s are just THREE screenprints for a few more clues…(I annotated some of them to explain the quandary here…):p

Per the cover description on search page:  LLPs should be included:  that’s in the description, not the general title of the search:

The Department of Business Services database includes information regarding corporations, not-for-profit corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships, as well as, other business-related information.

(Corporations, including not-for-profit ones (a  sample shown above), LPs, LLCs, and LLPs are covered, it says above…)

There’s plenty of room for follow-up on both the financials, and this independent auditor.  I’ve been looking but it’s not within the scope of this short post, which is mostly to update a statement in the title of the previous one.

…….To go back to the top of this (short) post, click the title again: UPDATE: Truth Initiative Financial Statements (YEJune2018) Surface Within 24 Hours of My Post Noting Their Odd Absence (This Update, Publ.Aug. 16, 2019). (short-link ends “-aGH”)

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