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Who is Paying Unity12’s Rent for its Top-Floor DC Beltway Suite?

The IRS requires Section 527 political organizations to report in itemized form any contributions they receive when such contributions surpass $200 for a calendar year. A Section 527 organization’s expenditures must be reported in itemized form if more than $500 in a calendar year is spent on a particular expense. If some person or group were paying rent for Unity12 as an in-kind contribution, such a contribution must must be reported and labeled as such.

The Unity12 Task Force is a Section 527 political organization, reporting its address as 1775 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 1212, Washington DC.

1775 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 1775 Pennsylvania Avenue is a piece of prime rental real estate a mere block from the White House in the Central Business District of Washington DC. This property completed an extensive renovation just last year and by its numbering Unity12’s suite appears to occupy the top floor. Cushman & Wakefield report the asking rate for this kind of rent in the Central Business District is somewhere between $60 and $70 per square foot. Even if Unity12’s office suite were as small as a cupboard, it would be paying well above the $200 reporting threshold for in-kind contributions or $500 reporting threshold for expenditures every month in rent.

The Unity12 Task Force officially formed in the beginning of April 2010, and the 2nd Quarter 2010 report of the Unity12 Task Force’s contributions and expenditures is the first quarterly report made by Unity12, covering the months of April, May and June 2010. In its report to the IRS, Unity12 discloses no in-kind contributions. No expenses related to rent are disclosed.

Who is paying the rent on Unity12’s enviable top-floor DC Beltway suite?

The question remains.

(Photo credit to dnbrv via Flicker)

6 comments to Who is Paying Unity12’s Rent for its Top-Floor DC Beltway Suite?

  • Thanks for your great coverage of Unity12. I hope you don’t mind my asking, but what’s prompted it?

    • Jim

      Hey, you’re welcome!

      It’s prompted by my experience following Unity08 in the last election cycle. The Unity08 organization talked an interesting populist talk that caught my attention but in its actions it was a plutocratic, secretive creation of the DC Beltway and Wall Street wealth managers. Because its leadership was very well connected to the circles political journalists run in, it got loads of fawning and uncritical coverage. If its management had not been incompetent (and if Barack Obama had not come along at that historical moment) its goal of arranging the election of a president and vice president might have been pulled off.

      Fast forward to the nascent 2012 election cycle, and Unity08 is getting set to start up all over again — except that this time, they seem to have ditched the old incompetent management (namely Gerald Rafshoon and Douglas L. Bailey). They’ve also successfully sued for the right to obtain contributions without size limit from small numbers of people. As Unity12, I don’t know what they’ll do or what they’re capable of. But if this time around is like the last time around, we can’t depend on the professional media to play close attention, and if Unity12 ends up trying something sneaky it’s very important (with the money they may well have) that somebody is paying attention.

  • Tom

    All politics is sneaky, underhanded, unethical, biased, unfair, and (in some cases more than others) RIGGED through jerrymandered districts, no paper trails, suspicious electronic voting machines, PAC contributions, (here in PA and elsewhere) WAM’s (walking around money, otherwise known as paid-for votes), and even the electoral congress is complete bullshit. So we can keep voting until the cows come home and the machine will continue to give us the same status quo, corporate rule at all levels of government. It no longer works (if it ever truly did).

  • Ralph

    It may seem like the options are to just participate uncritically in the system or to throw up our hands and say screw it. Jim, it seems to me, is really promoting a very viable third option–checking the facts, calling bullshit bullshit, not letting politicians get away with it, watching them very closely, insisting they behave ethically even if ethical political behavior is not the status quo. I like Jim’s option the best.

  • Update: the first three months of rent after Unity12/Americans Elect formed are still unaccounted for. But the 3rd Quarter report of Americans Elect (Unity12 renamed) show that Americans Elect began paying the rent for its digs in July of 2010, and has paid the rent since then, at rate of $5,921 a month.

    Americans Elect 3rd Quarter report is here: http://irregulartimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/americanselect3q2010report.pdf

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