Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gov. Gary Johnson's documents reveal puzzling trail

Updated: 6pm

Just days before former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is expected to formally announce his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, we’ve found a complex web of non-profit registrations, and only one quarterly financial report, for his 16-month-old Our America Initiative.

Johnson, who chairs the political advocacy group announced he was forming it in December 2009, but it was not registered as a Non-Profit Corporation in California until March the next year. The only financial disclosure we could find for the IRS exempt 501(c)(4) is this 4th Quarter (2010) filing in Utah.

Attorney Maureen Otis, from Stafford, Texas filed the financial report with the Utah Department of Commerce's Consumer Protection Division as required this February for the group's Treasurer Chet Goodwin, who lists his office in Salt Lake City. No financial reports were located at the California Secretary of State's office for the entire period.

The PAC reported raising a little more than $205,000 in three months from October 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. At the end of the quarter less than $2,500 cash was on hand. That’s the amount left after deducting $170,000 in overhead expenses. The report indicated $37,000 was spent on fundraising commissions and $606 for other expenses.

Our America Initiative donors do not have to be revealed and were not.

The PAC. is being managed by Ronald Nielson's NSON Opinion Strategy, a research and management group for political entities. NSON is also based in Salt Lake City. Nielsen was sued by the IRS two months ago for tax liabilities un-related to the Our America Initiative.

Two of Our America's officers, who are listed on IRS Form 1024 (embedded below) are from Albuquerque, including President Kelly Ward and Secretary Harold Field. The officers are not compensated for their roles on Johnson's board, expect the group does pay Goodwin for his accounting work.

It remains unclear if donations, which were reported in the single financial report included all donations received for the preceding 12 months. We wanted to know if the total was lumped into one quarter or if the PAC. did not start receiving donations until October 2010.

When we contacted Gov. Johnson, he directed us to Nielson saying, “check with Ron. He’s a real honest guy,” but Nielson declined to return phone calls or respond to emails. Multiple calls and emails to Goodwin and Otis were not answered.

The group will have to file another quarterly report in Utah later this month, and once Johnson launches his presidential campaign on Monday in New Hampshire he will be required to file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission.

We checked the FEC site this morning, and the Friends of Gary Johnson, a non-party/non qualified group registered in Ruckersville, Virginia reported $0 in donations.

You can read the group’s by-laws in the Unified Registration Statement, which is embedded here.

Unified Registration Statement filed in Utah
Our America Initiative

IRS 1024 form found online at the California Attorney General's Office
Our America Initiative 1024 Application

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it looks like Ron and NSONa re getting sued by the IRS

USA v. Nielson et al