Questions for Unity08, January 29 2007
These are the 14 questions that I will post in one hour’s time to the Unity08 online chat hosted by its lawyer, Thomas Collier.
Let’s see whether Unity08 posts these questions to the chat, and whether Unity08’s Collier answers them.
1. [Attention to Thomas Collier: In case I am permitted only one question, this is the one question I would most like to see answered — specifically, please.]
Unity08 has made a number of pledges in the past.
A) Unity08 has in multiple places indicated that it is committed to funding solely by small-dollar donations of no more than $5,000 (link|link|link|link|link|link). Yet in its lawsuit filed against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on January 10, 2007 in DC District Court, Unity08 specifically requests exemption from any “obligation to register with the FEC, report its receipts or expenditures, or limit the amount of donations that it receives from contributors or the amount that it expends.” Unity08 also states in the lawsuit that “it should accept donations from individuals, which may be in the form of loans, without limitation as to the amount.” Unity08 further states in its lawsuit that were it able to be freed of FEC regulation, “Unity08 would seek and receive much larger donations and loans from willing contributors.”
B) In seeking an official Advisory Opinion on its correct designation as an organization (527 vs. PAC), Unity08 specifically stated that “The FEC will determine whether or not we are a political committee for FEC purposes. Obviously we will follow their opinion.” On another page, Unity08 posed and answered its own question: “Would you and your candidates have to abide by FEC regulations? Of course.” Yet when the FEC’s advisory opinion was issued, informing Unity08 of the need to register as a PAC within 10 days, Unity08 ignored it for two months, and then filed a lawsuit against the FEC.
C) In the summer of 2006, Unity08 pledged to update its financial disclosures twice a month. It broke this pledge. In the fall of 2006, Unity08 pledged to update its financial disclosures once a month. It also broke this pledge.
Are there other current pledges being made by Unity08 that it plans to break, or is considering breaking?
2. The IRS clearly states that “An organization must electronically file Form 8872 if it has, or expects to have, contributions or expenditures exceeding $50,000 for the calendar year.” Unity08 meets this standard. Why has Unity08 not filed its Forms 8872 for the 2nd and 3rd quarter electronically as the IRS appears to require? And did Unity08 file its Form 8872 for the 4th quarter electronically as the IRS appears to require?
3. Will Unity08 commit to post copies of the 2Q, 3Q, and 4Q of 2006 on its own website for public review? Will Unity08 commit to post copies of its IRS Form 8872 on its own website into the future? And should it lose the lawsuit it filed on January 10, 2007 against the Federal Election Commission, will Unity08 commit to post copies of FEC disclosures as a Political Action Committee on its own website into the future?
4. In its initial, factually incorrect 2nd Quarter and 3rd Quarter statements to the IRS, Unity08 claimed its principal business address is 1801 California Street Suite 5050, Denver CO 80202. In its application for status as a corporation, Unity08 listed its principal office address as 1801 California Street Suite 5050, Denver CO 80202. This is identical to the principal business address of Peak Creative Media.
In a lawsuit filed against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in DC District Court (Case 1:07-cv-00053-RWR) Unity08 lists its primary address as 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 514, Washington, DC 20037. This is an office suite in the Watergate complex, also claimed as an address for the law firm of Franch, Jarashow, Burgmeier & Smith, as well as for an organization called the Thoreau Group.
Which is Unity08’s actual primary address?
5. In filing its Form 8871 with the IRS, Unity08 lists Peak Creative Media CEO Jim Jonas as Unity08’s President and CEO, and Douglas L. Bailey as Unity08’s Secretary and Treasurer. In Unity08’s Governance Page, Douglas L. Bailey is listed as Unity08’s President and CEO.
Who are the current officers of Unity08?
6. Founders’ Council member Douglas L. Bailey has stated that “There is no one on the Founders Council who intends or wants to benefit financially from Unity08.” Does this mean that no members of the Founders’ Council will engage in paid work for Unity08? Does this mean that no members of the Founders’ Council will receive compensation for any work for a campaign resulting from Unity08 nomination? Does this mean that no members of the Founders’ Council will receive compensation for any work for a presidential administration resulting from the successful election of Unity08 candidates to the White House?
7. On July 18, 2006, Founders Council Member Doug Bailey indicated of members of the Founders Council that “Some will have expenses reimbursed…. And a few will be providing their business services at standard rates.” Thomas Collier, Robert E. Jordan, John J. Duffy, and Anthony A. Onorato of the law firm Steptoe and Johnson have provided legal services in their filings with the FEC, which resulted in Unity08 needing to be reclassified as a PAC, not a 527. But there is no indication in the 2nd quarter and 3rd quarter reports currently available to the public of any compensation or reimbursement of Collier, Jordan, Duffy, Onorato or the firm of Steptoe and Johnson for their services. Were these services donated? If not, how much compensation or reimbursement has been paid, and how much is due?
8. Anya T. Harris refers to herself in a number of places on and off the Unity08 website as “Chief Operating Officer of Unity08”. Yet there is no mention in the 2nd and 3rd quarter reports to the IRS (at least those currently available to the public) of Anya Harris (or any Chief Operating Officer) receiving compensation. Has the Chief Operating Officer of Unity08 been compensated in any manner for her work, which includes hiring and supervision as well as the website work she has been carrying out? If so, for what amount and out of what source of funds?
9. The 2nd and 3rd Quarter IRS reports currently available to the public indicate that for over this six month period, Shane Kinkennon has been compensated $7,669.41. Is this a “standard rate” for professional public relations services? Has Mr. Kinkennon been further compensated for his work in this six-month period?
10. Has any group or person other than Unity08 compensated or reimbursed individuals for their Unity08-related work? If so, who and for how much?
11. Unity08’s second quarter statement lists $18,700 (a significant portion of all donations) as having been made in the year 2002. Is this a typographical error? If it is not a typographical error, how does this mesh with the description of Unity08 in its May 30, 2006 press release as a “new grassroots organization” that has been “building for months,” not years?
12. Unity08 has commissioned a national poll with Princeton Survey Research. I cannot find any description of expenses associated with a national poll on either the 2nd quarter or 3rd quarter reports of expenses that are currently available to the public. Did Unity08 pay for this poll? If so, please clarify the extent of those expenses. If Unity08 did not pay for this poll, who did pay for the poll?
13. What is the total dollar amount of all donations — including those under $200 — received thus far by Unity08?
14. If Unity08 has a positive balance in its accounts, what is that balance? If Unity08 is in debt at this point, by how much? From whom is it obtaining loans, if it is in debt?
Unity 08 refers to itself as a “grassroots organization” and a “people’s movement.” Let’s see whether it lives up to its own hype.