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IRS Complaint Filed Against Jeb Bush's Ed Reform Foundation (Oct 15, 2013)

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-20-13 01:11 PM
Original message
IRS Complaint Filed Against Jeb Bush's Ed Reform Foundation (Oct 15, 2013)
At long, long last.

Just as a reminder:

Since Jeb Bush left the Florida governor's office in 2007, this busy beaver and his "Foundation for Excellence in Education", with its hand-picked minions scattered across the country, have been:

Systematically undermining public schools;
Denigrating teachers and their job security;
Pushing for the privatization of public schools;
Siphoning public school funding toward the rampant proliferation of charter schools, virtual schools and online education;
Tying teacher pay to harsh measures of standardized testing of students;
Disrupting communities by closing public schools that are the glue holding students and families together;
Firing teachers across the country


---Raking in big money from political donors who stand to benefit from these policies Jeb Bush has created as he leads the charge in browbeating state legislatures across the country---

All of these things are under the Bush brand of cynical snake oil of "raising educational standards".

His efforts in Maine are a very recent prime example.

Back to the IRS complaint, with the scoop from Mother Jones:

IRS Complaint Filed Against Jeb Bush's Ed Reform Foundation

By Stephanie Mencimer
Oct. 15, 2013 3:05 PM PDT


This week, as Bush is back in the limelight in Boston kicking off his foundation's annual education reform summit, a New Mexico advocacy group, ProgressNowNM, has filed a complaint with the IRS alleging that Bush's foundation has failed to publicly disclose on its 990 tax forms thousands of dollars it paid to bring public school superintendents, education officials and lawmakers to foundation events where they had private "VIP" meetings with the foundation's for-profit sponsors. Nonprofits are required to disclose payments for public officials' travel and entertainment if it exceeds $1,000. Public records unearthed by the New Mexico group show payments for travel exceeding that amount for several state education officials whose travel wasn't reported on FEE's 990 form.

The complaint alleges that Bush's foundation disguised travel payments for officials as "scholarships" to hide the fact that the nonprofit was basically facilitating lobbying between big corporations and public officials who control local tax dollars. The complaint notes:

The unorthodox manner of these scholarshipsand the fact that they are used as a vehicle to meet with for-profit education corporationsfurther raises suspicions around the Foundation's failure to properly disclose payment of travel expenses in 2010 and 2011. Additionally, it is possible these unreported payments to the government officials may be deemed to provide a private inurement in violation of IRS regulations.


In its complaint, ProgressNowNM notes that New Mexicos education secretary Hanna Skandera received foundation funds to travel to Washington, DC, to testify before a US House committee on the expansion of "virtual" education in her state. Skandera asked House members to consider providing more flexibility in federal funding to pay for virtual schools. Some of the for-profit providers of those virtual schoolsamong them the troubled K-12 New Mexico are also donors to FEE. Using tax-exempt funds to subsidize congressional testimony, ProgressNowNM says, is an "apparent violation" of IRS regulations.

This tax-exempt organization is serving as a dating service for corporations selling educational productsincluding virtual schoolsto school chiefs responsible for making policies and cutting the checks, ProgressNowNM's Patrick Davis says in a statement. Just like brought together gun manufacturers with legislators to pass stand your ground laws, FEE is using its tax-exempt status to hide thousands of dollars its using to connect big private education businesses to government policy makers."


Very encouraging.

Jeb Bush has been using his political influence to lobby state legislatures to create controversial educational legislation that will directly benefit the large companies that are donors to his Foundation for Excellence in Education. That's so nice for Jeb, because it just might help him run for president.... By the way, many of these companies that stand to benefit from these legislative changes to education are owned by Fox News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch.

This just ain't right.

Critics rap actions of Jeb Bush's education foundation

The Corporate Cash Which Fuels Jeb Bushs Education Empire

Jeb Bushs disdain for public education

Who does Jeb Bush think hes kidding?

Heads up NC: Jeb Bush to bring ALEC's "educational reform" agenda to McCrory fundraiser April 30 April, 2012

Jeb Bush hatchet man Tony Bennett (thrown out of Indiana) appointed as FL's "Education Commissioner" December, 2012

Tony Bennett, Former Indiana School Superintendent, Changed Top GOP Donor's School's Grade July, 2013

Amid school grading controversy, Florida education chief Tony Bennett resigns August, 2013

Wherever Jeb Bush goes, there will be plunder and destruction of what people before him have worked so hard to build.

Oh, and Jeb's Foundation's response to this IRS complaint?

*UPDATE: Jaryn Emhof, communications director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, released a statement Tuesday night responding to the IRS complaint. She said, "Its not surprising that Progress Now New Mexico, a partisan organization that has a history of opposing education reforms that put students first, would attack efforts to improve the quality of education for children across America...We fully comply with IRS rules when providing policy research and expertise and will continue to do so. This is nothing more than a politically motivated complaint by opponents of education reform."

Sorry, Jeb. Your GOP colleagues' failed stunt to shut down our government can no longer shield the activities of your "Foundation for Excellence in Education" from the IRS.

Your lies must end.

Ms. Ravitch, tremendous thanks for your valiant efforts to put the spotlight on the value of public education throughout our lives, and the need to reverse the damage done by Jeb Bush and his cadre of "Educational Foundations".

For many reasons, we are finally making progress.

Governor Crist, you may yet receive another chance to undo the damage of the Jeb Bush Wrecking Machine, for the weary people of Florida.

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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-20-13 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
1. The Bush clan are bad news for education.
They should stick to stealing elections and invading nations that have no WMDs.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-22-13 03:37 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Sadly, the Bushes are not the only grifters in education. I am grateful to
this board, especially Mad Floridian and Sea Fan, for so much information about charter schools.

So sad that the only two candidates for Mayor of Boston are two charter school fans. Connolly's love of charter schools, however, seems to be reciprocated by a California charter school group that wanted to donate--wait for it--a half million or more to his preliminary campaign, just to make sure he made it to the top two (which, of course, he did).

The other candidates in the preliminary raised a fuss about outside money, so, theoretically he did not take it.

There should not be so much money in educating kids that a charter school organization has millions to blow on a mayoral race in Boston.

I don't know if the organization that wanted to lay that money on Connolly is connected to Michele Rhee, but I suspect it is. She lives in Sacramento, married to Kevin Johnson (D), current Mayor of Sacramento. (Her first husband is now Superintendent of Schools in Tennessee, appointed by a Republican Governor, so, apparently, she's politically, um, flexible.)

I will be voting for Walsh because at least he is pro-union. He joined the union at 18. His dad was a union man. Unions are not what they used to be, but at least Walsh knows what it's like to be the son of an immigrant union laborer. In the state house (he's a state rep), he's on the Ethics Committee and the Labor Committee.

And, on a weekly local show about local politics, they have a Democratic spokewoman and a Republican spokeswoman. Though the Republican supposedly has no dog in this race, she was touting Connolly, to the point of lying.

Menino is still popular in Boston and would win easily if he were running. So, a lot of the discussion has beenc orace prediction as one of his final public acts in office.)

When the show anchor asked who Menino favors, the Republican pundit immediately yelled out "Connolly." This is ridiculous because Connolly had been an outspoken critic of Menino and announced he would be running against him months before Menino announced he would not be running. No other Democrat had done that.

So, the Democratic spokesperson pointed out that Menino had attended an event where all the preliminary candidates for Mayor were present. Menino shook every hand in the room, except Connolly's.

But both candidates have money and contacts and endorsements behind them. Connolly's Dad was once Secretary of State of Massachusetts, so there is money, contacts, endorsements, etc. right there. And then, there's the Charter School stuff.

On the other hand, the AFL-CIO and the Working Families Party are supporting Walsh. I'm thinking police, firefighters and city employees will line up in droves to vote for him, even though he promises not to divide his loyalties when bargaining as Mayor. He also has the endorsement of a number of African American groups.

They're both Irish, so no one has the edge on that count in this historically Irish politician town. But it's now a minority majority town, too. The Spanish vote could swing it, although the Spanish candidates never made it beyond the preliminary election.

Still, it might be nice if Menino risked his pride and helped Walsh out with an endorsement?

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-22-13 05:14 AM
Response to Original message
3. Dang. I tried to rec, but was too late.
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