When You Give To A Charity, Know Where Your Money Is Going

Yesterday BizPac Review posted an article about the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc., a group of black New York State legislators who run a charity to provide scholarships for black and Latino youth.

The article reports:

The caucus of black New York state lawmakers run a charity whose stated mission is to empower “African American and Latino youth through education and leadership initiatives” by “providing opportunity to higher education” — but it hasn’t given a single scholarship to needy youth in years, according to a New York Post investigation.

The group collects money from companies like AT&T, the Real Estate Board of New York, Time Warner Cable, and CableVision, telling them in promotional materials that they are “changing lives, one scholarship at a time.”

The group — called the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc.  — instead spent $500,000 on items like food, limousines, and rap music, the Post found.

The politicians refused to divulge the charity’s 2017 tax filing to the Post despite federal requirements that charities do so upon request.

The article provides some insight as to where the money collected goes:

State. Sen. Leroy Comrie of Queens, the group’s number two, refused to come out when Post reporter Isabel Vincent stopped by his office. All of the politicians mentioned are Democrats.

“The real purpose (of the charity) is to bring people to get over their apathy and out to Albany and get motivated,” the charity’s former chairman, Assemblyman Nick Perry of Brooklyn, previously said.

There has been no money used for scholarships in that past two years, the Post reported, citing sources. That’s even after the Albany Times-Union called outthe charity in January 2017 for meager spending in prior years.

The charity gave $36,000 of its $565,000 in revenue to scholarships in 2015. That year, it spent $85,000 on a concert with Eric Benet and Regina Belle, and $157,000 on food, according to the Times-Union’s analysis of its tax filings.

The group said that year it planned to double the amount of scholarships it gave, but it didn’t happen.

In 2017, its annual event featured the rap artist Big Daddy Kane.

Hopefully the Attorney General of the State of New York will decide that the spending habits of this charity are inappropriate and require this group to actually fund some scholarships. However, it’s New York, so I am not optimistic.

Some Taxpayers Are Already Benefiting From Passage Of The Tax Cuts

Yesterday The Business Insider posted an article about some American corporations’ reaction to the passage of the Tax Reform bill.

The article reports:

AT&T said Wednesday it will pay a $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 US employees after the GOP tax bill is enacted.

“Once tax reform is signed into law, AT&T plans to invest an additional $1 billion in the United States in 2018 and pay a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 AT&T US employees — all union-represented, non-management and front-line managers,” a company press release said. “If the president signs the bill before Christmas, employees will receive the bonus over the holidays.”

Boeing released a statement announcing “immediate commitments for an additional $300 million in investments that will move forward as a result of the new tax law.”

They are:

“$100 million for corporate giving, with funds used to support demand for employee gift-match programs and for investments in Boeing’s focus areas for charitable giving: in education, in our communities, and for veterans and military personnel.

“$100 million for workforce development in the form of training, education, and other capabilities development to meet the scale needed for rapidly evolving technologies and expanding markets.

“$100 million for “workplace of the future” facilities and infrastructure enhancements for Boeing employees.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said: 

“For Boeing, the reforms enable us to better compete on the world stage and give us a stronger foundation for the investment in innovation, facilities and skills that will support our long-term growth.”

Fifth Third Bancorp said it would raise its minimum hourly wage for all employees to $15, with 3,000 hourly employees benefiting from the hike. The bank also said it would distribute a one-time bonus of $1,000 to about 75% of its employees.

“We want to invest in our most important asset – our people,” said Fifth Third President and CEO Greg Carmichael. “Our employees drive our reputation, our business and our success.”

Wells Fargo said it would raise its hourly minimum wage 11% to $15 from $13.50. Additionally, the bank plans to donate $400 million to community and nonprofit organizations in 2018 and will target 2% of its after-tax profits for corporate philanthropy beginning in 2019.

“We believe tax reform is good for our U.S. economy and are pleased to take these immediate steps to invest in our team members, communities, small businesses, and homeowners,” said President and CEO Tim Sloan in a company release.

…Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast NBC Universal, said the company would award $1,000 special bonuses to more than 100,000 eligible frontline and non-executive employees following tax reform and the repeal of net neutrality.

Roberts also pledged to spend $50 billion over the next five years investing in infrastructure, saying that the investments would “add thousands of new direct and indirect jobs.”

Sounds like a pretty good start!

When Political Discourse Goes Insane

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the move to end net neutrality. The first thing to understand is that net neutrality is not what it sounds like it should be. There are valid arguments to be made both for and against net neutrality. That debate would be welcome and informative–the current debate is useless.

The article reports:

Net neutrality activists left signs at Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s house Saturday, telling his children that their father was an “evil” man who “murdered” democracy.

The cardboard signs list Pai’s children by name, telling them that “you don’t have to be evil.” Pai’s leadership of the FCC has been fraught with criticism due to his rejection of net neutrality policies advocated by former President Barack Obama’s administration. The FCC announced last week that it plans to role back net neutrality rules, triggering protests outside the Pai family’s home for the second time this year.

Private homes need to be off limits for protests. The man’s children do not need to be afraid because their father is making a change to Internet regulations.

The article explains part of the argument to end the regulation:

Obama-era neutrality rules would have legally prevented internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast from discriminating against certain types of traffic. These regulations would effectively prevent ISPs from providing faster internet to higher-paying customers.

For an extended period of time, the FCC hosted an online forum for the public to submit comments and thoughts on net neutrality rules. While the whole process was an attempt at bureaucratic democracy, it ended up as sort of a mess due to the appearance of hundreds of thousands of fake posts from all parts of the world, including so many duplicates, and thus of highly unlikely authenticity. 

When in doubt, the free market is always the better idea.

Another Reason To Leave The United Nations

The Heritage Foundation posted an article today about the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The U.N. has released its press package for its July conference that will finalize the ATT.

The article reports:

This paper perpetuates the belief, on which much of the ATT is based, that the big problem the world faces is a lack of agreed standards on arms transfers. That’s wrong: The big problem the world faces in this regard is that many U.N. member states are dictatorships, supporters of terrorists, or simply incapable of controlling their own borders.

But the paper makes it clear that the job of the U.N.—as the U.N. itself sees it—is to make the case for a very broad treaty. As CASA puts it, “Advocacy efforts should be developed…through relevant reports and op-eds, messages, and statements at relevant meetings and to the press.” So watch out for U.S. taxpayer-funded funded U.N. propaganda in a newspaper near you.

The important sentence in the press kit:

But in spite of its desperate efforts to rebut Second Amendment concerns, the U.N. can’t stop stepping on its own shoelaces. After proclaiming that the ATT “does not aim to impede or interfere with the lawful ownership and use of weapons,” the CASA paper goes on to say that “United Nations agencies have come across many situations in which various types of conventional weapons have been…misused by lawful owners” and that the “arms trade must therefore be regulated in ways that would…minimize the risk of misuse of legally owned weapons.”

I don’t know what the chances of this treaty being ratified by the Senate are. I do know that President Obama has been named Salesman of the Year by many gun stores–private ownership of guns has soared during his administration. People are buying guns while it is still legal to own them.

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When The Government Tries To Decide Who Prospers Nobody Prospers

Today’s Daily Caller posted an article showing how the Obama Administration interfered in the market on behalf of the company LightSquared.

The article deals with the delay of permits to GlobalStar after an earthquake in Italy impacted its supply chain.

The article reports:

During the months while GlobalStar’s request languished in the FCC’s slow-moving bureaucracy, the agency was helping to finalize the sale of SkyTerra to Harbinger. That company would ultimately become LightSquared.

On Feb. 26, 2010, one week before the FCC acknowledged GlobalStar’s request, Harbinger and the FCC agreed on conditions that would forbid LightSquared from selling to Verizon and AT&T any spectrum it would later acquire.

The delay allowed LightSquared to move forward while GlobalStar waited.

Who profited by this delay? The article reports:

Also during those late spring months in 2010, several advocacy groups funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros were advocating for the adoption of “open-access” Internet rules. Soros’ Open Society Institute has donated more than $1 million to the four organizations that comprise the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition. He is reported to have invested $200 million personally in Harbinger.

It’s time to bring back an honest free market. The Obama Administration is obviously not playing by the rules.

 

 

 

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