The March For Our Lives against gun violence, organized by kids for kids, quietly registered as a 501(c)(4) with the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, The Washington Free Beacon reports — a designation that allows the March to keep its big money donors secret from prying eyes.
According to WFB, the March, whose signature event is scheduled for this Saturday, decided to incorporate as a “social welfare” organization, and a non-profit, but not a 501(c)(3), a designation which would have allowed those who donated to the March to claim their contributions as tax deductions, but which would have required the March itself to submit a list of their contributors to the IRS.
As a 501(c)(3), however, donor information would become searchable as soon as the March filed their annual tax paperwork. Given how quiet the Parkland students agitating for gun control have been about who is funding and organizing their efforts, it’s no surprise that the adults in charge would seek to keep certain information out of the public eye.
One thing is clear from the March’s paperwork: the kids are definitely no longer in charge.
It was already evident that major leftists organizations were dictating the March’s agenda and schedule. Buzzfeed reported weeks ago that Everytown for Gun Safety, the Giffords organization, Planned Parenthood, and the Women’s March had all taken critical roles in organizing Saturday’s event. Key Democratic legislators, like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), moved in on the kids quickly, and helped facilitate meetings with progressive groups.
The paperwork lists Jeri Rhodes as the March’s top official. Rhodes, according to WFB, “lobbies Congress and the administration to advance peace, justice, opportunity, and environmental stewardship,” and was formerly the chief financial officer of Greenpeace.
The Huffington Post also discovered that while the kids are theoretically in charge, a “board of directors” that reads like a who’s who of progressive activists will decide how the nearly $4 million the kids have raised is spent.
George Kieffer, chair of the Board of Regents of the University of California; Jeri Rhodes, who is with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Washington-based lobbying group founded by Quakers; Aileen Adams; who served under former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Nina Vinik, an attorney who has a background in gun violence prevention; Vernetta Walker from BoardSource, an organization that provides support for nonprofit leaders; and Melissa Scholz, an attorney who has expertise in nonprofit law.
The Parkland students will serve as an “advisory board” with no apparent official say over how the funds are dispersed.
The March for Our Lives website says donations will go towards covering expenses so that students can attend the protest in Washington, D.C., but the March’s public relations firm told HuffPo that whatever’s left over will go to “‘fight for comprehensive gun safety legislation’ and to promote voter education, ballot initiatives and lobbying efforts.”
Leftists have long complained about the 501(c)(4) designation because it is designed, specifically, to hide how money is raised and spent. Mostly, progressive groups have charged that major conservative donors, like the Koch brothers, use the designation to keep their web of contributions quiet.
Now, it seems, they’re using the same designation to keep donors to the March out of the loop as to how their money is being spent, and where their donations are really going — because, it appears, those donations aren’t going to the Parkland students.