The $500,000 in donations collected by Occupy Wall Street is drawing the attention of many people.
- The “residents” of Zuccotti Park heard about the huge sum of money and during the regular “General Assembly” meetings, arguments have broken out over how the money is being allocated.
- Our own Buck Sexton speculated on GBTV last Friday that the IRS might take a look at the situation. After all, this is not an official non-profit organization and they have raised over a half million in funds and accumulated untold amounts of goods (non-perishable foods, sleeping bags, goggles, etc.)
Perhaps the “leadership” at OWS realized their finances were a liability and they have formed an alliance of sorts with a Social Justice non-profit group that will collect the money for them. Enter, the Alliance For Global Justice (AfGJ).
AfGJ claims to have roots that go back to the late 1970s, but they only formally organized and were recognized back in 1998. According to their website’s mission statement;
It is the mission of the Alliance for Global Justice to achieve social change and economic justice by helping to build a stronger more unified grassroots movement.
And they also know an opportunity when they see one… also from the AfGJ mission statement;
The Alliance nurtures organizations seeking fundamental change in international and national conditions that disempower people, create disparities in access to wealth and power, poison the earth, and plunder its resources.
Occupy Wall Street seems to fit right in with the broad strokes of the Progressive movement that AfGJ claims to be a part of since 1979. And that is why it made perfect sense that this Alliance would swoop in and offer to collect money for OWS and also be able to offer “tax deductible” status to people who donate.
AfGJ, however, is not giving away their collection services. The organization takes a tidy 7% off the top of all donations they process. As of Sunday night, the Alliance for Global Justice claimed to have processed almost $200,000 on behalf of OWS.
This is a win-win for the protesters and the Social Justice crew at AfGJ. Occupy Wall Street gains significant legitimacy by associating with an established national non-profit group while adding the ability to raise funds via credit card donations with the promise of a tax deduction, and the Alliance gets an unexpected boost in donations thanks to their 7% cut.
If you are wondering if the Alliance for Global Justice is now officially and legally tied to the Occupy Wall Street movement, the answer is YES… sort of. Here is further clarification from the AfGJ website;
So what does the Alliance for Global Justice do for Occupy Wall Street (OWS)? Essentially we collect and process their donations and pass the money on to them as a project of the AfGJ. In IRS parlance we take “responsibility for all financial and programmatic matters” of OWS. We are responsible to include their financial reporting as part of our own when we file our annual tax return, which for non-profits is called a form 990. We are accountable legally and financially to prove that all expenditures by OWS are within the IRS’s tax-exempt rules. If the IRS audits us, we will have to show supporting evidence of the numbers we report. Occupy Wall Street’s obligation to us is to provide the accounting and receipts we’ll need for the IRS and to not jeopardize our tax-exempt status through any actions of theirs. (emphasis to text added by The Blaze)
This curious partnership gives AfGJ 7% of all monies donated to OWS, but could put the Alliance under the microscope of the IRS. Do they really expect the street-dwelling citizens of OWS to keep track of money spent and hang on to receipts? As someone who has visited Zuccotti Park weekly since the early days of the protest, this reporter saw little or no evidence of record keeping by those running the kitchen or any other “department” within the utopian encampment.
Lest you think that AfGJ has rushed into this marriage without a pre-nup, think again. From their website’s explanation of the partnership;
With all of our fiscally sponsored projects we are responsible for them both financially and programmatically. However, our fiscal projects act autonomously with their own decision-making structures. We do not interfere or participate in those structures except in the, so far, unknown event that one of our projects would do something to jeopardize our tax-exempt status. Under our fiscal sponsorship contract, we have the right to tell them to cease and desist if that should happen and to cancel the contract if they refuse.
Up to this point, the fund raising for OWS has been an informal combination of street begging, anonymous cash donations mailed to the park, and the rumored financial support from Unions, George Soros types, and the far Left. The ability to process donations via credit cards could bring a considerable infusion of operating capital to the movement.
The partnership also raises questions about the movement. Can you be in bed with a group that is pushing for Social Justice and Economic Justice and still claim that you do not want to tear down the Capitalist system that has been the engine of America for 235 years?
This formal, legal connection to an established, far-Left organization like AfGJ certainly gives new focus to Occupy Wall Street and the exact intentions of the movement.