Author Archive

Matthew Vadum

Veteran journalist Matthew Vadum edits Organization Trends and Foundation Watch. He previously worked in the Washington bureau of The Bond Buyer newspaper. While a reporter for the Central Penn Business Journal in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he won an award for outstanding legal journalism from the Pennsylvania Bar Association for an article that focused on employment law. He holds an M.A. in American Studies from Georgetown University. An expert on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Vadum's book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers," was published by WND Books in May 2011.

Briefly Noted: August 2014

Many of the Mercedes Marxists who belong to the shadowy Democracy Alliance donor group are not happy campers, the Washington Free Beacon reports. Facebook magnate and New Republic editor Chris Hughes joined the group last year but indicated he’s unlikely to renew his membership. “Three other partners—former investment banker and U.S. ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy, tech entrepreneur Tim Gill, and Steve Cohen … are at risk of ceasing their involvement with the DA,” according to WFB. To offset losses, the group wants 16 new members by year’s end. Art dealer Ronald Feldman and manufacturing executive Donald Budinger quit earlier this year. Alliance president (and George Soros protégé) Gara LaMarche, admitted that some former members “had the perception we were not sufficiently independent of the Democratic Party or the White House, or failed to take a long enough view of infrastructure and power-building beyond the next election cycle.”

Despite the internal strife, the funding powerhouse plans a $200 million fundraising campaign this election cycle to benefit key groups pushing for a left-wing Democrat majority in Congress. The goal of the Alliance is to foster a permanent political infrastructure of left-wing nonprofits, think tanks, media outlets, leadership schools, and activist groups. Among the groups benefiting from the Alliance’s largesse are the John Podesta-founded Center for American Progress, Media Matters for America, America Votes, and Organizing for Action.

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Briefly Noted: July 2014

The dog ate my homework: The Internal Revenue Service says it has lost former tax-exempt division chief Lois Lerner’s potentially scandalous emails from January 2009 to April 2011. As a result of a supposed computer crash, the agency now claims it possesses only Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this period in which Lerner and her colleagues were illegally cracking down on conservative nonprofit groups. In other words, the IRS is unable (or unwilling) to hand over emails written to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, Federal Election Commission, or from the offices of Democratic lawmakers.

“The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to congressional inquiries,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.). “There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.”

The left-wing group Political Action is encouraging its members to sign a petition urging President Obama to avoid taking new military action in Iraq, which is now being overrun by the brutal al-Qaeda linked terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). “The solution to the chaos is not another American military intervention, including bombing strikes. President Obama was right to end the Iraq War in 2011, and it would be a tremendous mistake to restart it now.”

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Philanthropy Notes: July 2014

Walmart Derangement Syndrome? More than half the members of the New York City Council signed a letter demanding that Walmart stop giving millions of dollars in charitable contributions to groups active in the city, the New York Post reports. Twenty-six of the 51 members of the Council claimed in the letter that Walmart only gives money as part of a cynical campaign to enter the local market. “We know how desperate you are to find a foothold in New York City to buy influence and support here,” says the letter addressed to Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation. “Stop spending your dangerous dollars in our city,” the letter demands. “That’s right: this is a cease-and-desist letter.” Left-wingers abhor Walmart because it’s big, successful, and resists unionization drives.

The number of college presidents earning $1 million-plus more than doubled in 2013, rising to nine from just four in 2012, according to the survey carried out by the Chronicle of Higher Education, which factored in salary, bonuses, deferred pay, retirement, and severance. Ohio State president Gordon Gee (who has since left the post to lead West Virginia University) topped the list earning $6.1 million as president.

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‘The Right Frequency’ gets a bump

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) unexpected primary loss last week to political newcomer Dave Brat is a testament to the continuing power of conservative talk radio.

Cheered on by radio talkers such as Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin, Brat went around the Republican Party establishment to pull off a stunning upset that is still reverberating in the corridors of power in the nation’s capital.  (Meanwhile, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California was elected today by House Republicans to serve as new House majority leader when Cantor leaves the post later this summer.)

As Brat stormed the establishment barricades, a book by Capital Research Center contributor Fred Lucas, The Right Frequency: The Story of the Talk Radio Giants Who Shook Up the Political and Media Establishment, surged to the top of the Radio History books category on Amazon.


Philanthropy Notes: June 2014

The 50 biggest donors in the United States gave $7.7-billion to nonprofits last year, with higher education and family foundations receiving the most money, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Heading the list is Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan ($992.2 million). Other notable givers who made the cut include Michael Bloomberg (4th, $452 million), eBay founder Pierre and Pam Omidyar (7th, $225 million), Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojkicki (9th, $219 million), businessman David Koch (24th, $101 million), and radical hedge fund manager George Soros (47th, $40 million).

Several high-profile think tanks have spotty track records on disclosing their funding sources, according to a new study reported on by the New York Times. Organizations such as the Hoover Institution, Center for American Progress, and Center for Strategic and International Studies each received one star out of five in the survey by Transparify, a small nonprofit based in Tbilisi, Georgia, and funded by George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. By contrast, the Brookings Institution and Heritage Foundation, each received four stars because they publicly disclose donors who give more than $5,000. “It’s important that people can have confidence in the integrity of the research, and if you are concealing the sources of funding that is relevant, as people don’t know how your research may be motivated,” said Hans Gutbrod, Transparify’s executive director.

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Briefly Noted: June 2014

An ultra-secretive left-wing money machine for super-rich radicals is bringing more representatives of Big Labor into the fold, in hopes of preventing a possible Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate this November. New members of the George Soros-dominated Democracy Alliance identified by the Washington Free Beacon are Noel Beasley, president of Workers United, a textile union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Keith Mestrich, president of the union-owned Amalgamated Bank. Other new members from Big Labor include Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. The names of the members were found on an official Alliance document Soros’s son Jonathan left behind at the group’s meeting in the Chicago Ritz hotel.

Other new members of the Democracy Alliance, a donors’ collaborative focused on funding left-wing political infrastructure, include Adam Abram (insurance and real estate), Rick Segal (financial services), and Paul Boskind (behavioral health). Among the heirs and heiresses to recently join the group are Amy Goldman (real estate), Henry van Ameringen (manufacturing), and New School professor Philip Munger, son of Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charles Munger.

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Briefly Noted: May 2014

Cincinnati-area members of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) made headlines when they embraced one of their own: serial vote fraud felon Melowese Richardson. At a “voting rights” rally, Richardson was called to the stage and given a hero’s welcome after NAN campaigned to free her less than a year into her five-year prison term. The group argued that she received an inappropriately harsh sentence because she is black. At the event Sharpton accused Republicans of trying to suppress the vote, saying it “is all a scheme to disempower and disenfranchise the vote in Ohio.” The MSNBC bloviator said, “Nobody gave us the right to vote and nobody is going to give it to us now. We fought for it and we’re going to fight for our right to keep it.”

Sharpton himself was recently outed as an FBI informant (he claims his life was threatened by gangsters) by The Smoking Gun website. Sharpton was referred to in FBI documents as “C1-7”—short for confidential informant #7—in secret court filings. “In those documents, investigators vouched for him as a reliable, productive, and accurate source of information about underworld figures,” the website reports.

Judicial Watch released internal IRS documents revealing that former IRS official Lois Lerner communicated with the Department of Justice (DoJ) about whether it was possible to criminally prosecute certain conservative and Tea Party tax-exempt entities. The documents were obtained as a result of an October 2013 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that Judicial Watch filed against the IRS after the agency refused to respond to four FoIA requests dating back to May 2013.

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Philanthropy Notes: May 2014

Under fire from left-wing activists who want the Washington Redskins football team to change its name, owner Dan Snyder has created the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation in an attempt to deflect criticism. Although few Native American Indians are actually offended by the term redskins—in fact, the word Oklahoma is Choctaw Indian for red people—Snyder and his staff took a 20-state tour of Indian country and suddenly became interested in helping the nation’s native peoples.

“The more I heard, the more I’ve learned, and the more I saw, the more resolved I became about helping to address the challenges that plague the Native American community,” Snyder said. “In speaking face-to-face with Native American leaders and community members, it’s plain to see they need action, not words.” By making excuses, accepting false premises, and pandering to the Left, Snyder is repeating the same mistakes that corporate America has made for decades. The activists always come back for more.

Former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies (D-Pa.), Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law who now seeks to return to Congress, has doubled her salary as head of a small taxpayer-supported charity, the Washington Free Beacon reports. Margolies, who still runs Women’s Campaign International, “used the charity in 2001 following then-husband Democratic Rep. Ed Mezvinsky’s fraud indictment for a variety of self-serving purposes such as leasing and renovating a historic Philadelphia mansion for her to live in.” When Margolies founded the charity in 1998, she paid herself $1,000 weekly, but increased her draw after scoring a $600,000 grant from the Clinton administration’s U.S. Agency for International Development. When her husband’s fraud came to light in 2001, the charity doubled her salary, placing it in the six figures. She also reportedly “attempted to have the charity renovate and lease a mansion in which she would live, billed the charity for her automobile lease and other expenses, and required charity staff to assist with her other responsibilities as a faculty member at a local university.”

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Philanthropy Notes: April 2014

Singer Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation is in the news because it blew big bucks on overhead expenses while devoting hardly any of its resources to actual charitable endeavors. The foundation of the New York-based entertainer, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, raked in $2.66 million in 2012, “but paid out just a single $5,000 grant, while spending $50,000 on social media,” the Daily Mail reports. The philanthropy spent more than $500,000 on its 23-event “Born To Be Brave” bus tour, which supposedly sought to reach out to disillusioned young people. It also spent $406,552 on legal fees, $300,000 for “strategic development,” and $150,000 for “philanthropic consulting.”

First Lady Michelle Obama has thrown her lot in with the movement, started by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and promoted by Girl Scouts USA, to ban the word “bossy.” Mrs. Obama tweeted that she was “encouraging girls to lead #BanBossy.” Sandberg, who wrote the book Lean In to push “women to pursue their ambitions,” says that “leadership is not bullying and leadership is not aggression.” But as notes, “the bossy women now trying to boss everyone into not saying the word ‘bossy’ seem immune to the irony of their position. More and more, the left seems to equate the word ‘leadership’ with following the crowd and doing only what is prescribed as politically correct.”

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Briefly Noted: April 2014

Lois Lerner, the former head of the IRS’s tax-exempt division, orchestrated a crackdown on Tea Party and conservative groups and then attempted to scapegoat those nonprofits during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles, blaming them for the harsh treatment they received at her instigation, according to an official report released last month by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “Many questions remain, including the identities of others at the IRS and elsewhere who may have known about key events and decisions she undertook,” the report stated. “Americans, and particularly those Americans who faced mistreatment at the hands of the IRS, deserve the full documented truth that both Lois Lerner and the IRS have withheld from them.” President Obama has said that there was not even “a smidgen of corruption” in the IRS affair.

After Federal Communications Commission member Ajit Pai revealed that the Obama administration was planning to do a study and “send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run,” People for the American Way’s “Right Wing Watch” blog shrugged off civil libertarians’ concerns about the disturbing plan. On Feb. 20, PfAW blogger Kyle Mantyla tried to spin the story by claiming that the FCC was “not going to be stationing agents in local news stations all over the country in order to monitor their reporting, as the Right has been frantically proclaiming.” But after a fierce backlash, the very next day an FCC spokeswoman said the agency was withdrawing the plan after its chairman determined “that survey questions in the study directed toward media outlet managers, news directors, and reporters overstepped the bounds of what is required.” She added, “Any subsequent market studies conducted by the FCC, if determined necessary, will not seek participation from or include questions for media owners, news directors or reporters.”

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