The Ballot Initiative Strategy Center today launched a new TV ad in Colorado and Nebraska highlighting how Ward Connerly has personally profited off his efforts to re-write state constitutions with his misleadingly named “civil rights” ballot initiatives.
BISC also launched a new website on Wednesday, BigMoneyConnerly.com, which is the most comprehensive one-stop shop for research and information on Connerly and his campaign. The new ad can also be seen on the website.
“Ward Connerly has used voter fraud and deception to place his initiatives on the ballot and profited off a campaign to outlaw equal opportunity,” said Kristina Wilfore, Executive Director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, “Today we are revealing the truth and exposing Connerly and his campaign as a fraud.”
Based on available information from the 990 forms filed by Connerly with the IRS, between 1997 and 2006, Connerly has lined his own pockets with over $7.6 million from his two tax exempt, non-profit organizations; American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI), 501(c)3, and American Civil Rights Coalition (ACRC), 501(c)4.
This includes over $500,000 in salary from 2004 to mid-2006 and $2.2 million in payments that Connerly paid himself for “speaking fees and interviews.”
Connerly’s excessive compensation levels from his tax-exempt, non-profit organizations have raised questions in Congress about their propriety and in 2006 the IRS was asked to investigate.
The most recent issue of The American Conservative recently revealed that, “In 1998, 22 percent of his nonprofits’ revenue was paid to Connerly in salary or to his firm. By 2001, Connerly’s salary and the fees charged by Connerly and Associates ate up 49 percent of the nonprofits’ combined revenue. Most of the money paid to the firm was listed on tax forms as “speaking fees.” In 2006, when Connerly took up a concrete goal in political activism—ending Michigan’s affirmative-action policies—the cut of nonprofit revenue paid to him and his firm rose to 66 percent of total receipts, nearly $1.6 million.”
The American Conservative also reported, “An IRS spokesman said that he could not comment on a case under investigation.”
The TV ad also exposes the hypocrisy of Connerly’s campaign to outlaw equal opportunity programs. From 1989 to 1994 Connerly used his own race to land no bid contracts worth over a million dollars. Connerly repeatedly enlisted as a minority contractor with the California Energy Commission — securing contracts for his Sacramento lobbying firm without having competitive bidding. By certifying with the commission’s special race-based program, Connerly helped guarantee his firm three separate contracts — one for $1.1 million in 1989, a second for $105,227 in 1992, and another for $35,000 in 1994, according to the records. The contracts were filed under the name of California Building Officials, an association that lists Connerly as its sole agent.
Connerly, a long time California lobbyist, targeted five states this year with his misleadingly named “civil rights” ballot initiative – Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. His campaign has faced charges of fraud and deception in every state and as a result he failed to qualify for the ballot in Arizona, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Connerly has spent over $2.8 in out-of-state funding to re-write state constitutions with his ballot initiative.