Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Part V: Campaign Finance – Nonprofits are prohibited (TAP complaint)

Brian Moran at Dumas Center

For the better part of a year Mark Powell as a member of the board of directors at Total Action Against Poverty (TAP) has been complaining that the powerful nonprofit was dabbling in Roanoke politics. Powell resigned from the board out of frustration with what he determined was a breach in IRS 501(3)c code:

“all section 501(c)3 organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

Powell says he was excluded from participation and attendance at a committee appointed to look into his complaint. The findings of the committee were not released but included an accusation that employees while on the clock at TAP were working polls, using TAP board rooms for assembling political material and using TAP property for candidate rallies. The answer to his concerns did result in a beefing up of the policy prohibiting political activity. Employees were to have received the policy to reinforce the rules on political activity.

The Old Dominion Watchdog posts about the sequence of events.

Powell was campaign manager for Delegate Onzlee Ware’s opponent Martin Jeffrey in 2009. He is currently a district leader with the Roanoke City Democratic Committee.

Local mainstream media wouldn’t touch it. True, there is no silver bullet but for sure live ammo was whizzing by the President and CEO of TAP, Ted Edlich. Edlich attended, spoke and endorsed Delegate Ware in the foyer of the TAP-owned Dumas Center in 2009. The President of the Roanoke Chapter of the NAACP, Brenda Hale also endorsed Ware. The NAACP strongly prohibits political activity.

In 2007 a well-attended rally for Ware was held on the Dumas Center Stage when his opponent was Independent Mac McCadden.

In campaign finance filings $3000 went to TAP from Delegate Ware’s campaign coffers related to Juneteenth scholarship donations. Other money was paid from Ware’s campaign fund to pay a Juneteenth coordinator. Ware in response to the Virginia State Board of Elections said it was a loan he intended to pay back to his fund. Ware’s response was identical recently while explaining an expenditure to pay for a hotel stay at The Ritz Carlton in McLean, Virginia. He admitted that it was not all official business.

The IRS will make a determination of whether TAP was in compliance or not. The ruling could jeopardize 501(3)c status, multiple government grants including a Roanoke City Community Development Block Grant.

Related articles:

Delegate Onzlee Ware’s use of campaign funds still a sore spot

Delegate Onzlee Ware Campaign Expenditures Questioned

Del. Onzlee Ware Has 10 Days to Respond to the State Board of Elections

Scrutiny of Delegate Onzlee Ware’s Campaign Expenditures Moves Forward

Delegate Onzlee Ware Meets Deadline to Amend Campaign Filing

Virginia State’s Attorney Ponders Delegates Campaign Finances

State Board of Elections takes “no action” on complaint against Delegate Onzlee Ware

The Virginian-Pilot recognizes Virginia’s campaign expenditure loophole

Brian Moran Sets Himself Apart from Deeds and McAuliffe at Roanoke Rally – Video

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2009, Elections, Politics, Video

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