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NEW IRS DOCUMENTS REVEAL CONSUMER WATCHDOG FOUNDER
Internal Revenue Service documents recently filed with the California Attorney General's Office have revealed a slush fund controlled by ConsumerWatchdog.org founder Harvey Rosenfield that paid him $100,000 plus benefits and expenses to make a single grant and another payment of $200,000 to Jamie Court, the director of ConsumerWatchdog.org.
According to IRS Form 990s that appear on the Attorney General's Charitable Organization Database, the "Consumer Education Foundation," classified as a 501(c)3 charity by the IRS, lists Rosenfield as its sole employee. He paid himself a salary of $100,000 in 2010 plus more than $95,000 in expenses.
What did Rosenfield do for his $100,000 salary? His "Foundation" made a single grant in 2010, as it had in previous years. The recipient? ConsumerWatchdog.org, which received $137,500. (A review of forms from several years prior to 2010 shows that the Foundation had the same practice of making a single grant to ConsumerWatchdog.org and its predecessor, The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, in previous IRS reporting periods.) It also made a $200,000 payment to ConsumerWatchdog.org, allegedly to pay for that organization's website.
According to ConsumerWatchdog.org's IRS froms, the organization returned the favor to Rosenfield, paying him a stunning $472,288 in "consulting fees." Meanwhile, Jamie Court reported $248,168 in compensation from ConsumerWatchdog.org and related organizations in 2010.
"This is yet another example of Harvey Rosenfield and Jamie Court paying more attention to their personal wealth than health care and consumer rights,'" says Democratic political consultant Steven Maviglio, publisher of ConsumerWatchdogWatch.com. "While hundreds of genuine nonprofits in California are toiling on shoestring budgets, Rosenfield and Court are figuring out new schemes to line their pockets."
Rosenfield, founder of ConsumerWatchdog.org remains its leading spokesperson and was a staunch opponent of President Obama's health care plan. He recently launched a ballot initiative campaign with California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones to regulate health insurance rates. Jones' agency gave more than $849,194 in intervenor fees to ConsumerWatchdog.org in 2011.
Jones has not awarded intervenor fees to any other "consumer" group. In fact, the organization has been the sole recipient of Insurance Department's intervenor fees since 2007, including a record high $2.4 million in 2009. The fees are the result of a ballot measure, Prop 103, that group penned that results in millions of dollars paid to the organization.
The Consumer Education Foundation, which had reported assets of $2.801,662 at the end of the 2010 reporting period, reported to the IRS that Rosenfield works 25 hours per week on a website that criticizes Wall Street, WheresOurMoney.com. Ironically, the Foundation's $2.8 million in funds are invested in Wall Street securities, according to the IRS forms.
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