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So many scams, so little time


The Acting Attorney General of the United States folks (and “acting” is the key term):

In the three years after he arrived in Washington in 2014, Matthew G. Whitaker received more than $1.2 million as the leader of a charity that reported having no other employees, some of the best pay of his career.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust described itself as a new watchdog nonprofit dedicated to exposing unethical conduct by public officials. For Whitaker, it became a lucrative steppingstone in a swift rise from a modest law practice in Iowa to the nation’s top law enforcement job. As FACT’s president, he regularly appeared on radio and television, often to skewer liberals.

But FACT’s origins and the source of funding used to pay Whitaker — now the acting attorney general — remain obscured. An examination of state and federal records, and interviews with those involved, show that the group is part of a national network of nonprofits that often work in concert to amplify conservative messages.

Contrary to its claims in news releases and a tax filing, the group was created under a different name two years before Whitaker’s arrival, according to incorporation and IRS records. At least two of the organizers were involved in another conservative charity using the same address.

In its application to the IRS for status as a tax-exempt organization, the organizers reported that the group would study the impact of environmental regulations on businesses, records show. In that incarnation, the group took no action and “only existed on paper,” one man named in IRS filings as a board member told The Washington Post. Another named in a state filing as a board member said he never agreed to be on the board.

This thing appears to be a straight-up grift. No wonder Trump loves this guy.

. . . Whitaker has altered his required financial disclosure forms five times since the midterms:

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has revised his ethics disclosure forms at least five times since President Donald Trump appointed him after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ forced resignation.

Financial disclosure forms published Tuesday evening show that Whitaker took in $900,000 in salary from a “charity” organization that took aim at Democrats on ethics grounds as well as $1,750 in legal fees from a dubious, since-shuttered marketing company accused of fraud.

Whitaker also took in more than $100,000 from his law firm as well as $15,000 from CNN, where he briefly served as a legal commentator who opposed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

It’s unclear what exact information Whitaker omitted when he first filed the form upon his appointment as Sessions’ chief of staff in late 2017. The most recent changes were made the day after the midterm elections as well as on Nov. 8, Nov. 16, Nov. 19 and Nov. 20.

Also too:

The group has engaged in one partisan pronouncement after another, mostly directed at Democrats. During the last presidential race, Whitaker argued in July 2016 newspaper opinion pieces that Clinton should be prosecuted for her handling of her private email server – a favorite talking point of Donald Trump. The opinion pieces identified Whitaker as FACT’s leader.

In September 2016, Whitaker argued that Clinton had acted shamelessly by appointing her charity’s donors to boards of the State Department when she was secretary of state.

“I don’t think anybody in the history of our country that served in the administration has been this bold in their private fundraising and their sort of giving favors,” he said in a radio interview posted on YouTube by his group.

Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch, a Chicago-based group that monitors the nonprofit world, said that statement appears to violate the IRS ban on engagement for or against a particular political candidate. “It’s highly critical of a candidate, and he ought not to be doing that, because it’s a political partisan comment,” he said.

Accusation, confession etc.

Why were Koch et. al. paying the basically anonymous Whitaker more than a million bucks over three years to do some wingnut radio shows and “write” the occasional op-ed?

Also take a gander at the organization’s most recent tax filing, which shows hundreds of thousands of dollars being funneled to lawyers and PR firms.  Again for what exactly?

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