THE BILL AND MELINDA GATES CHARITABLE FOUNDATION, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Trayvon Martin.
BILL AND MELINDA GATES SAVING LIVES IN AFRICA BUT FOUNDATION GRANTS TO ALEC MAY CONTRIBUTE AND INCREASE THE LIKELY HOOD OF VIOLENT DEATHS IN THE U.S. AS IN THE TRAYVON MARTIN CASE.
This is the Mission Statement for the Gates Foundation;
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.
Given the noble causes the Foundation has dedicated its resources to why would it grant $376,635 to the American Legislative Exchange Council(ALEC) a political/lobbying group that prepares and sponsors ultra right wing legislation that benefits its corporate sponsors at the expense of others. Donor members include tobacco, oil, pharmaceutical and others including the ultra right Koch brother’s companies. Many of these companies have direct conflicts with the Gates Foundation.
The Foundation justified the grant as an “educational” grant as stated below:
American Legislative Exchange Council
Date: November 2011
Purpose: to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement
Term: 1 year and 10 months
Topic: Advocacy & Public Policy
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
THE CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY ANALYSIS OF “ALEC” ACTIVITIES
The Center for Media and Democracy on 8/11/2011 published an analysis of eight hundred of the proposed bills and concluded that the bills are not for the public welfare but for narrow business interests of its corporate donors at the expense of the public.
Also in 2011 The Nation magazine as well as many others published multiple articles describing the political/lobbying activities of ALEC entitled as follows:
The Nation Magazine. ALEC Exposed. 2011
The Nation Magazine. ALEC Exposed: Rigging Elections. 2011.
The Nation Magazine. ALEC Exposed: Business Domination Inc.. 2011.
The Nation Magazine. ALEC Exposed: Sabotaging Healthcare 2011.
The Nation Magazine. ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection., 2011.
The Nation Magazine.ALEC Exposed: Starving Public Schools. 2011.
Nation Magazine. ALEC Exposed: The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor 2011.
These were not the only articles exposing ALEC. As stated most mainstream media published articles also exposing the efforts to influence state legislators in the interest of their corporate sponsor who hold veto power over the bills and acts prepared by ALEC. ALEC prepared and lobbied for the Defend Your Ground Act passed in Florida which was involved in the Trayvon Martin death
However despite all the evidence that ALEC was a political/lobbyist organization advocating measures directly in contradiction of the Gates Foundation goals the Gates Foundation said it would go forward with its donation as the grant had already been approved. Approved by who? One wonders was it Bill Gates himself? Or one of his employees?
This statement was made after it was determined that Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law was almost identical to the ALEC model act which it lobbied for passage through its corporate and active/retired politician membership. Also this same bill that was instrumental in the death of Trayvon Martin has been passed in some form by 31 states and is under consideration by other states despite the fact the Trayvon Martin killing revealed that instead of protecting people in Florida the numbers of people killed by gun death almost doubled after the act was passed
ALEC is obviously a political organization dedicated to preparing and lobbying for the passage of bills that benefit its sponsors like the Koch Brothers who disavow Global Warming among other scientific facts that might affect their companies. Its agenda is contrary to the alleged humanitarian goals of the Gate Foundation with assets of over thirty billion dollars. Then there is Bill Gate’s personal wealth which is under management by many of the same people. With so much wealth under their control maybe there is a conflict of interest between the goals of the Foundation and the goals of the Gates wealth managers who have invested in many of the companies represented by ALEC.
GATES STATEMENTS ON THE FOUNDATIONS 990PF TAX RETURN
The Gates Foundation has to submit a 990PF tax return and make it public on its web site. The Foundation’s tax return in 2010 asks the following questions which were answered and signed off on by Bill Gates on 10/26/2011. He answered no to all the questions listed below.
Statements Regarding Activities (FOUNDATION 990PF)
PART VII A
1a During the tax year, did the foundation attempt to influence any national, state, or local legislation or did it participate or intervene in any political campaign?
1b Did it spend more than $100 during the year (either directly or indirectly) for political purposes
If the answer is “Yes” to 1a or 1b, attach a detailed description of the activities and copies of any materials published or distributed by the foundation in connection with the activities.
1c Did the foundation file Form 1120-POL for this year?
1d Enter the amount (if any) of tax on political expenditures (section 4955) imposed during the year: (1) On the foundation. _____$ (2) On foundation managers ___$
1e Enter the reimbursement (if any) paid by the foundation during the year for political expenditure tax imposed on foundation managers.
2 Has the foundation engaged in any activities that have not previously been reported to the IRS?
PART VII B
5a During the year did the foundation pay or incur any amount to:
1) Carry on propaganda, or otherwise attempt to influence legislation (section 4945(e)?
2) Influence the outcome of any specific public election (see section 4955); or to carry on,
Directly or indirectly, any voter registration drives?
(3) Provide a grant to an individual for travel, study, or other similar purposes?
(4) Provide a grant to an organization other than a charitable, etc., organization described in section 509(a)(1), (2), or (3), or section 4940(d)(2)? (see page 22 of the instructions)
(5) Provide for any purpose other than religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational
purposes, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals?
Gates signed the return before the Trayvon Martin death and may not have been aware of the grant to ALEC at the time as the Foundation makes hundreds if not thousands OF grants. However after the Martin death his spokesman said the Foundation would not make any future grants to ALEC but would continue with funding the present grant (to run 1 year and 10 months) approved before the MARTIN death.
Maybe Gates should also file an amended tax return giving correct answers and in the future make political gifts from his personal fortune which is managed by the same group that manages the Foundations assets or divest himself as trustee in favor of a neutral trustee. One wonders if a Captain of Industry who goes to the Davos Conference every year, often to speak, can change his spots to that of a Great Humanitarian. The foundation exists to provide tax shelter for about half of his fortune and the Foundation is designed to change Gates image from a ruthless businessman to a compassionate Humanitarian. Can a leopard change its spots?
Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation L.A.Times 9/25/13