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Posts Tagged ‘EIN#20-5205488 (SVCF’org)

LOOK BEYOND THE LOGO! AND IF A NONPROFIT IS NAMED in the NEWS, OR EVEN HINTED AT IN THE NEWS, LOOK IT UP!

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Post Title:  LOOK BEYOND THE LOGO! AND IF A NONPROFIT IS NAMED in the NEWS, OR EVEN HINTED AT IN THE NEWS, LOOK IT UP! (Short-link ends “-99m.”)  Post started July 16, 2018… July 31, 2018, I was on-line and on-blog again for the first time in a week, picking up three posts in the pipeline (in draft status). Further work on this draft Aug. 21… published August 29, 2018, updated post-publication* same-day and Aug. 30.

  • *(Added a short section on Weithorn & Ehrmann Family Foundation + charitable tax specialist lawyer Stanley S. Weithorn (1924-2015) to complete brief drill-downs on Tides.org supporting foundations as recorded on Tides Organizations’ consolidated annual financial statements YE2014-2015)
  • The post is now about 8,300 words including all image captions and (as I recall) just one table. It has plenty of pictures, but if you know the routine, typically those are screen shots of tax returns or other fine print from quotations of websites or new articles, sometimes annotated.

Before getting into it, know that this post was last edited, as of Aug. 21, three weeks ago (Aug. 1) including some additions.   Since Aug. 21, I was (besides being busy) deciding whether to split it in half, leaving just one substantial “drill-down” in each half. It’s one post which may feel like it has two or three distinct sections.

Some of my additions take time to clarify differences between my geological point of reference for “Drill-Down” versus a related but different point of reference (usage), computers: websites designed to lead readers into pre-fabricated drill-downs for the purpose of, generally, sales, or selling a concept for which public funds may be required.

Geological drillings are often but not exclusively for the ultimate purpose of profit (whether for mineral, oil, gas, or water). I use the phrase #DotheDrillDown often on Twitter thinking of the material , geological term, and want to clarify that when I say “DoTheDrillDown” it’s not for people to “click and read what I’ve prepared for you to read so you won’t have to work for the information” but for people to develop the habit of exploring themselves – personally engage with –  certain untapped reservoirs of valuable information from disparate (seemingly unrelated) sources — and let what’s found there speak to them about the surrounding contexts and connections.

And to become more aware of when they are being coached what not to think about by people and groups whose purposes, “brands” (public image) and agenda depend heavily on most of the masses  never having a cognitive curiosity about the importance of accounting: following the money, and where the dots ought to connect from one entity’s balance sheet to another, but the path to follow that connection is littered with broken and missing links.

Know also that this post has substantial but not only overlapping material from a post published August 4, Budgets Aren’t Balance Sheets! and other Basic (USA)Facts about Billionaires’ Philanthropic Behaviors, Such as of 2014-retired Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer + His Wife Connie [July, 2018] (short-link ends “-982”).  Started mid-July, published Aug. 4, 2018, at about 9,000 words (tags added later).  

“Substantial overlapping material” means mostly about the Silicon Valley Community Fund, its organizers and just some of their related organizations and organizations’ grantees, or as I call it on Twitter, “#FamousFaceBookFounders and their LLCs.” A more complete report would mean drill-down on 16 or 17 “related organizations,” more of the subcontractors besides ICONIQ Capital, and so forth.  I’ve done far more than is posted here.

Vocabulary “Drill” – same words, different applications.

In saying “drill-down,” I’m using a geological idea, but as in geology, things are also moving sideways.. there’s a flow; no single core sample tells the whole story.  Descriptions from the field of geology, including Indiana Geological & Water Survey (“IGS”), show basic concepts I’ve borrowed.

When it comes to data far below the surface,  first there’s the digging it out, then there’s the recording, if that information is to be at all useful. This differs from (I just saw) another common usage, meaning “pre-pared” for public consumption computer viewing, i.e., Business-Intelligence (“BI”) usage.

Geological and water surveys of course (say some of the excerpts below, on the IGS images) now use computers and electronics to record the measurements after physically drilling.  Unfortunately, for the types of things I record and (as possible) measure on this blog, I know of no software program or automated process of taking readings.

However, I have made it, through habit, and almost “automatic” routine check as a human being, remembering which items to look for, and keeping my eyes out for any “anomalies” (using correlation) and other peripheral information on an entity or on its leadership (board, or executive officers’) which might help increase a historical perception of its change, and the field’s changes, over time.

Google search results, “Drill-Down, geology” were far fewer than those referring to computers, without the word “geology.” Here’s one from AustralianMinesAtlas.gov.au…

I believe this was from the Cambridge Dictionary… “many websites have some form of hyperlink navigation as you drill down…”

Both involve getting to more in-depth information than the surface, but a key difference is one is not a guided tour.

I’m saying, we have to break new ground, it seems, in connecting disparate sources of information to obtain, mentally and at least SOME of it retained in our memory, a landscape involving financial concepts as tied to the public use (and accountability for) our tax receipts, and translate the PR, the degree of spin (whether from public or private, or both together entities) into a vocabulary which cuts across the divide enough to compare — similar, different.  Big, or small.  Characteristics of the corporations and (by association) those running them, etc.

https://igws.indiana.edu/OilGas/drilling.cfm

Vocab Drill Down (Geo) from IndianaU (Bloomington) IGS (two images only) ~~~ SShots 2018Aug22 Wed @2.07.19 PM

References: All illustrations except those of the old drilling rig, the cross section, and the road cut are from:Baker, Ron; 1979; A Primer of Oilwell Drilling; The University of Texas at Austin; Austin, Texas

Vocab Drill Down (Geo, see LOOK BEYOND THE LOGO post) from IndianaU (Bloomington) IGS (two images only) 2018Aug22 Wed @2.09.03 PM


This “drill-down” process (speaking of applying the geological concepts to searching for information in key places, taking core samples and then recording the measurements somehow) differs from the “BI” (Business Intelligence) concept of “Drill-Down and Drill Through(<==please read the short description; a link at bottom of the page also leads to a clickable, alpha, vocabulary list; it’s a “BI Encyclopedia”) which refers to preparing the data & (I guess) “html” to direct the reader to such information at the easy click of a mouse — as a well-designed website might.

When I say “Drill Down,” I am talking about, as a consumer / outsider of information, takes more effort — it is locating and looking down, in more details, the relevant information that the websites often do NOT provide in drill-down or drill-through format either. I’m saying, learn to see what’s NOT been offered at the surface level, and take notes if/why it might not have been.  See what’s not there but likely to exist and can be tracked elsewhere.  Observe misdirection and distraction from the bedrock reality, for historic folds and fault lines (changes over time), for characteristics of that rock (bottom-line best description of the entity or entities operating in synche), and correct course in a search for understanding WHO IS IT?  as — trust me — often will be necessary!  

The BI web design Drill Down/Drill-Through purpose is driving revenues, or selling a cause.

Mine is, public-interest awareness of (across-the-board) both government and tax-exempt entities (so often working hand in hand with governments) frame their respective causes. The backdrop of audited financial statements + 990s (if found) + legal domicile registrations AND the organization’s various websites helps translate the truer activities.  The more personal effort into at least looking! the more patterns of a gap between presentation and reality surfaces.

[End of Vocabulary “Drill” section.  Next:]


From my handwritten notes last week, “Tides Orgs” list several supporting organizations.

“Supporting” vs. “Related” organizations. How it seems to work… who they are.

For example, not identical, but after looking closer, I noticed some similarities in between the Tides Organizations’ “supporting”  and SVCF’s “Related” organizations.  The “Tides Organizations” are also [mostly*] from Northern California (San Francisco Bay Area, not Silicon Valley — although these are less than a half day’s drive from each other).  [*One in NY.]

“Tides.org” represents several different organizations laterally (find and view their comprehensive audited financial statements (they are on the website), or for a taste of how presented, follow me on recent Twitter threads on #R4G (RightsForGirls.org, which is a fiscally sponsored project).

  • Beauchamp Charities
  • Rouhana Family Foundation
  • Harding Rock Fund
  • One Pacific Coast Foundation
  • The Underdog Fund
  • Weithorn & Ehrmann Families Fund.

Here’s where in the (Years ending Dec. 2014 & 2015) Tides Consolidated Financial Statements I found that.

Note: In reading any Financial Statements, always look at both the financial statements themselves (the pages mostly tables (columns + labeled rows) of numbers with totals of each column & section) see Table of Contents for specific name each statement is to take and what it shows) and for more insight on WHO is the organization and what those numbers represent, “Notes to The Financial Statements.”  The notes often explain things less than clear on the organization’s website and sometimes not even on their tax returns. This is even more important for government Comprehensive Audited Financial Reports or “CAFRs”…read the accompanying Notes too! (Look under Comptroller’s Offices for government entities, or just search for them on the website, or in general, naming the entity)…

This image is from Note 1 to Tides Organizations Consolidated Statements YE 2014 and 2015...

What “Tides Organizations” means for purposes of these financial statements is also shown on Note 1 (but not on this post).  Note, the statements are of consolidated operations, which would of course differ from what’s seen on individual Tides entity (I think there are about five of them) Forms 990.

“Tides Consolidated Statemts YsE Dec 2014, 2015 (shows supporting orgs + its Entities + some financials)|SHOW THIS!~~ SShots 2018Aug22 Wed..”

 

I had no idea (Before any drill-downs, that is) who the above organizations are, or what are their assets, but am looking now, repeating the list, but adding EIN#s if found, website if found, and whether or not the website connects people to that info and for some of them, a few images or other “specs” giving the general flavor of each.


Correction or Clarification (8/30): What the Financial Statements called “Supporting” organization, a tax return identifies under “Related”. There are many Tides Organizations, but I chose to look at “Tides Foundation” Form 990 because the supporting ones I’d already viewed cited that as the one they were “supporting.”  Notice the increasing total balances for Tides Foundation over just three years.  Most of that is simply increased donations.

Below that, see its Schedule D (FY 2014 chosen) showing how many Donor-Advised and (second column) “Other” Funds, and how much is held in or distributed from each type.

Form 990s results for Tides Foundation, EIN# 51-0198509, Total Assets shown FYs 2014-2015 showing major increase. (No column headers shown only because I used a name-search not EIN# search to locate it; other results inbetween these and the top of the table//LGH)

(174pp shown above for FY 2014 includes page after page of fine-print, basically illegible “grantees” which is unnecessary and is a statement of intent NOT to encourage closer scrutiny.  “Who gives a damn?” is the mentality…  The grants, over $100M worth, are also arranged in descending order by amount (not alpha) and probably have repetitions, i.e., if two grants of different amounts to the same organization, the entries would not be near each other.  ….
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Written by Let's Get Honest

August 29, 2018 at 1:35 pm

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Budgets Aren’t Balance Sheets! and other Basic (USA)Facts about Billionaires’ Philanthropic Behaviors, Such as of 2014-retired Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer + His Wife Connie [Aug. 4, 2018]

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I started to weave some of this information into a different post, anticipating writing further on it.

However, after about a days’ hunt for two (STILL not found yet) EIN#s connected with the famous philanthropists mentioned in the title, and after reading the tax returns / shabby filing habits of one of the no doubt much smaller ones also associated (referring to the Los Angeles Clippers Foundation — Steven Ballmer also owns the Los Angeles Clippers), I felt it better to sequester this topic onto its own post.

Too bad, because, understood better, it adds weight to the original argument — most headlines involved nonprofits at SOME level, and we’d be better off as a whole, when they come up, to look them up!

Anyhow:  My post title:

Budgets Aren’t Balance Sheets! and other Basic (USA)Facts about Billionaires’ Philanthropic Behaviors, Such as of 2014-retired Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer + His Wife Connie [July, 2018] (short-link ends “-982”).  Started mid-July, published Aug. 4, 2018, at about 9,000 words (tags added later).  It comes from the middle of Two Plaintiffs’ Counsel Nonprofits for Class Action Lawsuit (℅ Center for Investigative Reporting article) (Short-link ends “-95X,” published 7/31/2018).

CLICK IMAGE TO READ!  Good Ventures (Public, ℅ SVCF) Form 990, FY2016 Sched L acknowledging ICONIQ Capital’s “Interested Person” status through 35% owner, Divesh Makan (viewed 8/4/2018)

The post title could also reference, and I do include for comparison, two other philanthropic couples, both with close ties to Facebook and a multi-billion-dollar Silicon Valley Community Foundation (“SVCF”) formed by merger to reach $1 billion assets only in 2006.

Besides Zuckerberg’s apparent direct involvement in (funding) SVCF and with Iconiq Capital’s Divesh Makan (discussed below) from before Facebook went public, these two couples also headed two of SVCF’s many “related tax-exempt organizations” formed since 2006 (samples below).  However, the Chan-Zuckerberg related organization dissolved itself in 2016 into multiple other “CZI” branded LLCs (Delaware entities) while more “CZI” branded nonprofits were then started up (again, shown below).

CLICK IMAGE TO READ! Good Ventures (Public, ℅ SVCF) Form 990, FY2016 Sched O showing entwined relationships (viewed 8/4/2018)

So husband-and wife couples Priscilla Chan & Mark Zuckerberg (Startup: Education + the more recent Chan Zuckerberg Initiative) and Dustin Moskovitz & Cari Tuna, have overlapping mutual foundation interests. Zuckerberg and Moskovitz were Facebook co-founders, and one major mutual foundation in common is the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in Santa Clara County, (SF Bay Area) California.

Moskovitz & Tuna’s variety of “Good Ventures” entities (one public (<==EIN#452757586, 2016 tax return), one private (<==EIN#461008520, 2015 tax return) foundation and an LLC) collectively report (2016) over $1B Assets (the LLC’s assets are unknown; LLCs don’t have to reveal their financials to the public). (Next 3-image gallery shows: 1) Total combined gross Assets from these two “Good Ventures” foundations (along with some others) in table form, and 2), 3) self-disclosure on multiple entities from the organization’s website.

GoodVentures.com the website was (still is, generally) initially confusing until I looked up the referenced organizations financials. That website doesn’t overtly feature “SVCF” but instead “GiveWell” and “Open Philanthropy Project,” which (like Startup: Education — and Good Ventures) seems to keep changing its format and, correspondingly, its reporting requirements, using one sound-byte (or trademark) for multiple organizations.  GiveWell it also turns out is a trade name (‘dba’) not an entity name.

The public “Good Ventures” foundation (℅ SVCF) has only 3 officers:  Cari Tuna, Dustin Moskovitz, and Divesh Makan, and the (highly paid) board / officers of related SVCF (as of tax return 2016).

There are investment managers in common among these various foundations and LLCs (ICONIQ Capital, Apercen Partners, Square Seven Management**) showing up: as “℅” on the addresses; as well-paid independent subcontractors (Form 990 Pt. VIIB); and/or as “(Form 990 Sched L) Interested-Person Transactions,” or (as in Good Ventures example imaged above) as might be reported on a tax return under Schedule O, “Supplemental Information”). … For the LLCs, searchable in California at BusinessSearch.sos.ca.gov, they show up as either listed “managers” and/or at the same street address + Suite#s entity addresses.

(**Square Seven Management LLC it says is managed by Iconiq Capital LLC, a Delaware Entity)

These networked billionaires work through networked foundations and similarly named LLCs to: move the money, pool the assets, and use common investment managers often, who invest alongside them and are paid fees and percentages of “AUM,” assets under management (presumably).

Who knows, perhaps that’s what ‘APERCEN” in “Apercen Partners” refers to – “A percen(t).”  (Just kidding…)

Investopedia 2/28/2016 article (Mark P. Cussen), “Are AUM Fees a Thing of the Past?” (Click image to enlarge or click through for article).

Search “AUM fees” for several results.  Here’s an interesting and quick-read one from March 28, 2018: “Why AUM-Based Fees Don’t Meet Fiduciary Standards” by Bert Whitehead of “Cambridge, Connection, Inc.  “Advisor Perspectives.”  Another from Guideline.com (What is an AUM Fee?), and from Investopedia that they may be going out of fashion: Are AUM Fees a Thing of the Past? by By Mark P. Cussen, CFP®, CMFC, AFC | February 12, 2016.  Notice these are all written by financial advisors of one kind or another, see all the initials after that last author (and nearby image)

 

The networked billionaires then advertise their own work on websites which post, typically, no identification (or minimal and not the most recent by far) of tax returns for specific foundations, or evidence of any LLC filings, or audited financial statements. Where would those audited financial statements be found?  While sometimes the California OAG may post audited financial reports under individual foundation’s “Details” page, for these (I’m reporting on herein) it doesn’t seem to.

The spider-like nature (multiple related organizations, with separate identities but apparently common SVCF management) and behavior of SVCF blurs the IRS’ definition (when movement of money is shown) of “supporting organization” (the “support” seems to be going in the opposite direction) and the concept of actual independent entities, when the independent entities simply delegate administration and management to the controlling one (here, SVCF), paying its board and/or employees handsomely for the fees, and retaining (both supporting and supported, i.e. SVCF, organizations) most assets while granting out (for several of these SVCF-managed related organizations) millions of dollars more in a given year than is taken in — some “budget” — knowing that their rich benefactors will either cough up some more, or close it down as part of an obviously pre-determined exit strategy.

Overall it seems to be more about the investments held by and funds moving between multiple nonprofits under common management (including some of the boards) than about the advertised projects.  Another reason I say, watch the Balance Sheets as much as if not more than the Budget.

Also complicating comparisons among multiple entities, even of public with private ones under common management or ownership:

Differences between public (990s) and private (990PF) filings (unofficial, deduced just through observation)…making cross-comparisons from the same wealth source harder for the average person, although the purpose of by law (Internal Revenue Code) making them public at all, one would think, is for the average person, “the public,” — not just potential donors — to understand how entities with tax-exempt privilege are in fact operating and what they are doing with that privileged status.

My comments refer to IRS Forms 990 since substantial revisions in 2008 only. I have spent more time looking at the more recent forms, although I often do go back before 2008 for specific entities.

  • PUBLIC 990-filing foundations have to categorize types of investments on their balance sheets (Part X, since the IRS Form 2008ff) and provide more detail on Schedule “D” to Part X for any amounts for Other Investments or “Other Assets,” but do not have to name which exact corporate/public-traded or other investments are held.   
  • Public foundations also in their grantmaking are to supply EIN#s for grantees
  • Public foundations by IRS form have to segregate domestic and foreign grants on different schedules (Schedule I, Schedule F) 
  • PRIVATE 990PF-filing foundationsremember, Good Ventures has one of each both formed about 2012 it says — do list how many shares of exactly which investments, and grouped by type, but do not (as I understand it/I may be wrong about that) have to categorize them on the tax return’s balance sheet statements as to type.  
  • PRIVATE (990PF-filing foundations) in listing their grants do not have to separate domestic (USA) and foreign (non-USA) grants — and some of these are granting out millions with very long lists.  They also are not required to provide EIN#s for any grantee, making fact-checking or follow-up harder; especially when grantees can and do tend to change their names, or if the name & address recorded on the 990PF do not match reality.
  • The PROBLEM: Together, this makes obtaining an overall view on any single enterprises’ (or individuals’) financial impact on specific projects. The information is dispersed, and it’s recorded in different reporting formats even when the money may be coming from the same source (i.e., same extraordinary personal wealth).
  • Movement / re-branding of business entities over time:
    • The project & organization “Open Philanthropy” at “GiveWell” (to which GoodVentures and others have been contributing) then morphed into “Open Philanthropy” (so far, I’ve located three types of entities:  LLC, 501©3 — barely funded — and 501©4 — startup funding about $55M!!). Some details below, see also list of “tags” for this post which name several of the entities.
    • GiveWell and Open Philanthropy bring up two more names (both young(ish) men, not a “couple”), Holden Karnofsky & Elie Hassenfeld, as well as the hedge fund investment management firm (Bridgewater Associates) where they met and came from.  More on this below the next aqua-highlit paragraph and “Open Philanthropy Action Fund” tax return table.
      • Not shown this post, but I’ve looked at several (at least five) of the largest donors GiveWell has been recommending and looked up their tax returns since this post was published Aug. 4, 2018.  I also did a chrono review of GiveWell (“The Clear Fund’s) tax returns as far back as 990finder provides. I wouldn’t give any of them a “C+” on transparency or reporting, and some (Imperial College Foundation, Atlanta GA) an “F” (just moving money to a well-endowed UK London,UK college).
      • Among the grantees, Harvard grads are “everywhere,” particularly at Evidence Action, which has a well-stated relationship with GiveWell as a sponsor, also with organization’s I’d run across and blogged separately associated with behavioral modification studies on the poor in developing countries. J-PAL and IPA (Innovations for Poverty Action). Search Alix Petersen Zwane for more insight.
      • Around 2011/2012, Cari Tuna shows up on the Board and GiveWell’s entity address goes cross-country (NY to SF), and funds start pouring in.
      • As I have said several times, “Harvard/Bain/Bridgespan” investment model in action.
    • Startup Education (of SVCF) morphed into Chan Zuckerberg (or “CZI”) initiatives, and so forth.  Several details (in image gallery format and described) below. See also list of “tags” for this post which name several of them.
The various websites always advertise how philanthropic and altruistic the causes are while, typically not showing the real picture behind the money movement, dispersal, and in general, obfuscation.

Personally, I find it hypocritical and stunningly arrogant. Failure to disclose their own financials while collaborating with their own social niches to channel grants to nonprofits which then lecture the public at large about better management of public institutions [health, education, criminal justice, housing, civil rights, immigration, racial equity — you name it] and how to “improve” them in this fashion and through these strategies.  Look at enough tax returns and related websites, and the background picture comes into clearer focus.

It is the tax returns (and, where available, AUDITED financial statements, plus name-change records at the Secretary of State (or corresponding state-level business filing databases; in California it’s the Secretary of State, others, may be Dept. of Revenue or of Corporations), and not the literal self-descriptions in words and (of course) appealing, empathy-insiring photos which provide the better interpretation of what the organizations are doing. Even site-visits or personal acquaintance (i.e., experiential impressions) cannot override the vitality of financials in comprehending WHAT — at this level of sponsored projects, nonprofits, and grant-making foundations etc. — the rich have in mind for the poor, as opposed to for themselves.  
Do this while you can, because indicators are that some of these privately controlled foundations (or their projects) are spinning off into LLCs.  One example shown in detail below (SVCF’s Startup: Education into Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative LLC); likewise the Good Ventures’ featured “Open Philanthropy Project” and promotion of (another couple’s 2007-formed) “GiveWell” foundation (See GoodVentures.com or the 3-image gallery above to note) has spun off into, not its own, transparent, tax-return filing (for public information) 501©3, but instead another LLC.

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Written by Let's Get Honest

August 4, 2018 at 2:22 pm

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Featuring Five Vital Posts on …. Our Assigned Places in the Tax Continuum Pecking Order (from ABA, APA post update) [Publ. July 12, 2017]

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Featuring Five Vital Posts on …. Our Assigned Places in the Tax Continuum Pecking Order (from ABA, APA post update) case-sensitive short-link ending “-7bR”

I(Oct 2014 updated July 2017, Pt. 3B, i.e., taken from “Do You Know Your…ABA, APA (Founders, History, and via their Forms 990/O or Financial Statements, As Nonprofits?), Or How the ABA from its start maneuvered around existing suffrage for “men of color” long after women also got the vote? If Not, Then You Also May Not Yet Know Your [the Public’s] Assigned Place in the Tax Continuum Pecking Order.”

WITHIN that post, I extracted a section about conversations we need to have:  To Identify and UNDERstand is to know Why (and How) to WITHstand. (Public’s Assigned Place on the Tax Continuum Pecking Order, [from “Do You Know Your ABA, APA…?” Oct. 2014 Post Update]  (case-sensitive shortlink this time ends “-7dX”).  That brief post ends with a shortlink to this one (although without the fancy title).

That (short) post reminded readers of my Five Related Posts  from the Vital Links menu whose themes continue to prove relevant year after year, no matter which topic I seem to be researching or reporting on.  It also reminded and showed readers an interesting (and so far, typical) response to the relevance of the CAFR (Consolidated Annual Financial Reports) Mass Media Coverups when it’s brought to light.

THIS ONE was first started for technical (length, easier revision) purposes 7-7-2017.  All paragraph breaks had been wiped out…

There were also at least two length issues here.  One is me running my mouth in quasi-PTSD mode back in 2014 (a time of major household stress and transition as I had just outed relative probate/fiduciary abuse in the context of same relative’s prior involvement in undoing my work life via post-domestic violence separation’s family court litigation — on the opposing side, etc.)  Another length issue was technical blogging ability — at the time I hadn’t discovered how to use (smaller) screenprints, instead of quotes, and or begun using condensed fonts inside quotes, or lines to set them off from basic text inside boxes.  I hope to correct both without negating or erasing important content.  But some post “surgery” may be required here….

BUT, I WILL STILL CONVEY THE PRIMARY MESSAGES:


CAFRs as a system of reporting for government entities regulated by a tax-exempt nonprofit set up by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) only began, at least as regulated by this tax-exempt nonprofit, in the 1970s, by which time post World War II government surpluses were really starting to accumulate (as well as personal fortunes made in wartime).

Key to CAFR coverup is accounting practices which separate “BUDGET” from many other funds, handle “General Fund” as though it was the main source of government receipts (it most certainly isn’t at the federal, state, and most other levels).  Being blissfully (??) ignorant of how to assess, see, or conceptualize just how many assets and in what forms, and under what funds, all levels of (USA – federal) (States — all 50 and territories) governments, plural, exist and where they are pooled, or where held separately, “the people” are easily fooled into accepting the constant talk of DEFICIT without regard to NET ASSETS or even GROSS ASSETS (and taking a look at how liabilities are accounted for).

The problem with showing this information is the “snooze” factor.  It’s not colorful, juicy, doesn’t have major photography involved; it requires actual dealing with numeric and categorization concepts (somewhat abstract) even though they really do apply to concrete situations — like how to make a city go bankrupt needlessly by changing accounting rules.

It also isn’t typically grasped with just 15 minutes of exposure, or maybe even a few days. Constant absorption of current events and news does NOT typically equip or condition a person to absorbing this type of information if one doesn’t already know how to.  Its impact is also so significant, there is a natural desire to go back to the “pristine” innocent belief that the problem wasn’t so fundamental.


The post “To Identify and UNDERstand is to know Why (and How) to WITHstand. (Public’s Assigned Place on the Tax Continuum Pecking Order, [from “Do You Know Your ABA, APA…?” Oct. 2014 Post Update]“(case-sensitive shortlink this time ends “-7dX”,) talks about conversations we (the public) should be having as part of normal basic, understanding of life in this country.  These conversations ideally should be with each other in places where we can view the same visuals, charts, and discuss them ideally face to face and ongoing, and with our own families or partners, or friends.  BUT, we have been conditioned NOT to talk about these things, and become focused and engrossed on other things instead.

Business owners who operated in this manner would go under, or get taken over because they are not paying attention to their bottom lines, or the current marketplace and climate — or finding and listening to others who can tell the truth about it.

This information IS “the bottom line” for people living here and subject to taxation, policies, conditions created by various entities, and propaganda, where it may be propaganda, about the where IS that bottom line, really — as a basis for setting future policy.

These more people should be having with each other are talks about money which take into account how the government sector interacts with the public (through taxation and tax-exemption), what’s done with tax receipts (how it’s shown in reports versus portrayed on the media), and how government entities differ from business entities organized under the same governments (guess which one is really on top?).  These conversations cannot occur without at least some basic vocabulary and a bit of “practice.”  That “practice” has to include some financial statements and tax return reading.

I have some very smart, articulate, well-educated friends, who I continue to respect.  Some may say they are no good with numbers, their minds don’t work that way.  How much of this is nature or nurture (or lack of nurture when it come to basic math) isn’t my business.

I realize some people are visual learners, but I refuse to believe there are not more people who are capable of thinking conceptually AND capable of comprehending consequences of having had significant information about how our own governments operate using their financial statements being withheld from the average person, and from open, and frequent discussion on-line and in social media.

Carl Herman, “Nonpartisan examiner” 7/3/2011, leading quotes (after link to a video) in “Debt-damned economics: Learn monetary reform or kiss your assets goodbye (Pt. 1 of 2)”. Accessible also from his article on the $600B fund that can’t fund $27B pension obligations, (below).

I wonder what is the psychological block to facing some of these facts, or understanding that they refer to things which often make headlines in the major media anyhow — for example, constant talk of underfunded pensions, pension liabilities making or breaking some major metropolitan city.  Again — Carl Herman (cited enough on this blog, probably on the post leading to this one) said it clearly enough and he’s not alone.  I just think he expressed it well — why hold over $600B assets (speaking of I believe CalPERS) when it doesn’t adequately fund pension contributions anyhow?  Here’s a paragraph from my lead-in post (with a little extra color for emphasis):

For an antidote, go read some Walter Burien (May 10, 2010, “Is our Government Bankrupt?…. Analogies are Fun to Use: Is the Columbian Cartel short of cocaine?“, Clint Richardson (July 20, 2013, “Detroit: The Latest Bankruptcy Lie” (hover-cursor for abstract, and read the top part, too)), or Carl Herman, who asks such questions as, “CAFR summary: if $600B ‘fund’ can’t fund $27B pension, $16B budget deficit, why have it?? (from his 2012 article) and, like the others, can also walk people through it, and has:

  • Interview: Game-changing CAFR trillions explained (Feb. 14, 2014)….These astounding funds are disclosed in official Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs). Government and media “leaders” claiming no options but austerity while failing to honestly communicate surplus trillions is OBVIOUS criminal financial fraud . .

So, this post starts with a slight overlap (naming the five posts and reminding us to go check out the FMS Treasury.gov website (and/or its redirect) to view some reports.

Expanding on that commentary from Burien (2010) above, he gives an analogy (other than the rhetorical response — “Is the Columbian cartel short of cocaine?” which seems a good analogy for the situation! I added a screenprint, then a quote:
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