A Breitbart News investigation has revealed that many of the funders of the Justice Through Music Project (JTMP), a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization of which convicted “Speedway bomber” Brett Kimberlin is a director, do not know about his criminal past. Those foundations and funds listed as donors that responded to request for comment also indicated that they had not been contacted by media other than Breitbart News.
A spokesperson for Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift, which is listed by JTMP over several years, explained to Breitbart News that the fund is donor-advised, meaning that it does not have discretion over donations made by individuals or organizations with accounts at the fund. Donors merely park their funds at Fidelity to receive an immediate charitable tax deduction, and direct those funds over time, as they wish, to any 501(c)3.
Five percent of donations through Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift are anonymous, according to the fund’s spokesperson, who could not say whether donations received by JTMP were actually anonymous, or were simply reported as being from the fund rather than the donor in question. Some recipients, the spokesperson indicated, occasionally list Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift as the donor rather than the original source.
Another source of donor funds to JTMP in 2009, the Schwab Charitable Fund, responded to Breitbart News by releasing the following statement:
National donor advised funds like Schwab Charitable Fund are cause-neutral, and exist to facilitate the charitable giving of their clients. Grants do not in any way reflect the views or perspectives of Schwab, Schwab Charitable or the management of either organization.
Grant recommendations are approved for any qualified 501c3 charity and our charter requires us to rely on the IRS judgment of tax exempt status. If and when an organization loses its 501c3 status, we immediately stop approving grants and inform any of our clients who are affected.
Other past JTMP donors, such as the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Barbara Streisand Foundation, refused to comment. Unlike Fidelity and Schwab, both have discretion over where their funds are directed.
Few of the funds and organizations responding to inquiries by Breitbart News seemed to have known about Kimberlin’s criminal past–though the spokesperson for Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift indicated that they had been aware of the online buzz this week, and a spokesperson at another fund was stunned to learn about Kimberlin’s past, when she asked about the purpose and context of Breitbart News’ inquiry about the gift.
The Fairview Foundation, which is reported to have donated to JTMP in 2005 and 2006, could not confirm any requests about its gift, because the foundation has since changed its rules and reorganized its records. A spokesperson said that Fairview no longer gives to outside organizations, and raises funds exclusively for its own health care projects.
Neither the Tides Foundation nor the Threshold Foundation returned Breitbart News’ requests for comment; other donor organizations either refused to comment or could not return comment in time for publication. There is no known precedent for disqualifying an individual from being director of a 501(c)3 on the bases of prior felony convictions. Breitbart News has determined that JTMP could likely continue to shield its donors through the use of donor-advised funds–much as Media Matters for America has done.