President Trump tapped Whitaker to become acting Attorney General earlier in November after Jeff Sessions was asked to resign.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) is a self-proclaimed 501©(3) “watchdog” nonprofit.
This is not the first year a single big donor has accounted for the entirety of FACT’s funding, according to an exclusive new analysis by CRP. Nearly 100 percent of FACT’s funding — all but a few dollars in interest accrued on money left-over from prior years — came from a single anonymous donor again in 2015, 2016 and again last year.
CRP discovered FACT’s first tax return back in 2016, revealing its funding — $600,000 for 2014, its first year of operation — came entirely from a donor-advised fund called DonorsTrust, which acts as a pass-through vessel managing the money flow from wealthy individuals and foundations to nonprofit organizations while allowing the donors to remain anonymous. Beneficiaries of DonorsTrust include a breadth of conservative and libertarian initiatives. Due to DonorsTrust’s design, although CRP is able to reveal the direct funder of FACT by piecing together grants from different tax returns, the ultimate donor remains hidden.
New tax returns obtained by CRP show that wasn’t the only time DonorsTrust was FACT’s main funder. In fact, DonorsTrust accounted for 100 percent of FACT’s income from donations again in 2015, in 2016 and its most recent tax return — meaning Whitaker’s organization that claimed to be “dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency” has gotten all of its funds from a group that exists mainly as a vehicle for donors to elude transparency every year since its inception.
Deep ties to dark money networks
In their application for tax-exempt status, FACT — then called the Free Market America Educational Foundation — told the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that its purpose was to “conduct research and provide informational studies on free market concepts in relation to environmental regulations and policy.” The IRS approved the group’s application for tax-exempt charity status on July 21, 2014, according to its determination letter.
Tax-exempt status in hand, the nonprofit changed its address to a UPS store and its name just weeks later, according to Virginia incorporation records. The nonprofit changed its name again that October, first to the Working for Rights to Express & Communication before finally landing on its current name — ultimately changing its name three times in the months following IRS approval for tax-exempt status, twice in just one day. That month, Whitaker, took control of the organization after losing his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Iowa.