IRS Complaint Filed Against “Education ALEC” Foundation Giving Thousands in Payments to Public Officials, Non-Profit Used as Front for For-Profit Education Companies to Influence Public Education Spending Policies
Albuquerque, New Mexico – A formal complaint filed today asks the IRS to investigate former governor Jeb Bush’s non-profit Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) after public records investigations find the organization failed to publicly disclose thousands of dollars paid to public officials who met with for-profit education companies seeking to rewrite state public education policies across the country.
IRS regulations prohibit non-profit organizations from paying government officials or providing tax-exempt dollars for the private benefit of individuals. Public records first obtained by In the Public Interest and published today by PROGRESSNOWNM detail payments of thousands of dollars to state education chiefs and government officials in at least four states who were provided “scholarships” from the charity to attend summits which included “VIP” meetings with some of the country’s largest for-profit companies selling education products. Tax-exempt funds were also provided to pay for travel of New Mexico’s Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera to testify before Congress in her official government capacity.
“This tax-exempt organization is serving as a dating service for corporations selling educational products – including virtual schools – to school chiefs responsible for making policies and cutting the checks,” says Patrick Davis of PROGRESSNOWNM. “Just like ALEC brought together gun manufacturers with legislators to pass ‘stand your ground’ laws, FEE is using it’s tax-exempt status to hide thousands of dollars it’s using to connect big private education businesses to government policy makers and the time has come for it to stop.”
Public records also show that non-profit dollars provided more than $30,000 in first class travel for Governor Jeb Bush, president of the board.
FEE states that it discloses its donors on its website, which includes the list of several non-profit foundations. Records show, however, that several for-profit education service companies, including K12 and Pearson and Amplify, not identified online are listed as donors in internal documents and promoted as such in VIP meetings with policy makers.
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