An investigative reporter who believes publicly available financial records show Media Matters founder David Brock is operating 14 pro-Hillary Clinton organizations engaged in money-laundering has posted a petition on Change.org calling on the Department of Justice to conduct a full audit.
Brock came to fame in the early 1990s for exposing President Bill Clinton’s sexual misdeeds in Arkansas and discrediting Anita Hill’s accusations against Clarence Thomas. But he later renounced his work and his conservative political identity and became one of Hillary Clinton’s fiercest defenders as the founder of a media watchdog that targets the right.
Andrew Kerr, who reports for the nonprofit investigative group The Citizens Audit, has found that Brock’s Media Matters for America conglomerate consists of seven nonprofits, three Super PACs, one 527-committee, one LLC, one joint fundraising committee and one unregistered solicitor.
Kerr believes Brock’s “organizations have provided the Clinton Campaign with an undemocratic and illegal advantage during the 2016 presidential election.”
He’s calling on the Justice Department to audit the 14 organizations operating out of Brock’s Washington, D.C., office.
“Through analysis of public facing IRS tax returns, FEC filings, and business registration documents, we’ve identified a litany of fraudulent and illegal activities occurring within this Media Matters conglomerate,” Kerr writes in his petition.
Kerr says his investigative organization first came across the information in July, and he and his colleagues are “still having a hard time wrapping our heads around it.”
Brock and Media Matters did not respond to WND’s requests for comment.
It’s not the first time Brock has been accused of fraudulently managing his media conglomerate. In 2007, as Discover the Networks reported, Brock’s former long-time live-in boyfriend William Grey threatened to go to the IRS with damaging information about how Brock was running Media Matters.
Brock paid Grey $850,000 to keep quiet, according to DTN, selling his home in Rehoboth, Delaware, to obtain the money.
Fox News reported Grey accused Brock of “financial malfeasance” and threatened to undermine Brock’s fundraising efforts.
“Next step is I contact all your donors and the IRS,” Grey wrote in an email May 19, 2010. “This is going to stink for you if you do not resolve this now.”
Kerr believes the information he has uncovered is what had Brock so terrified.
“We feel confident in saying, with close to absolute certainty, that David Brock is laundering money through his Media Matters conglomerate,” Kerr writes.
Brock also is known for his collaboration with left-leaning billionaire activist George Soros. In April 2008, Politico reported Brock was working with Soros and longtime Clinton operative Paul Begala to launch a four-month, $40 million media campaign to discredit Republican presidential candidate John McCain. In 2010, Soros gave $1 million to Media Matters “to hold Fox News accountable for the false and misleading information they so often broadcast.”
Kerr writes that through “analysis of publicly available non-profit IRS tax returns, FEC filings, and business registration documents, we’ve identified a litany of fraudulent and illegal activities occurring within the Media Matters conglomerate.”
He found that one of the 14 organizations operating out of Brock’s office at 455 Massachusetts Ave., NW 6th floor, Washington, D.C., 20001, is the opposition research American Bridge 21st Century Super PAC, which was purchased by the Clinton campaign in December 2015.
Kerr presents evidence the super PAC lied in its reporting to the FEC to hide the transaction with the Clinton campaign.
Super PACs are barred from making coordinated expenditures with political candidates, he points out.
He found that the assistant treasurer of Correct the Record, a super PAC that openly coordinates with the Clinton campaign, is also the assistant treasurer, registered agent and custodian of records for American Bridge 21st Century Super PAC.
A total of eight individuals are shown to have collected pay from both Correct the Record and American Bridge 21st Century during the same pay periods, Kerr says.
“This provides reasonable suspicion that the Clinton campaign is illegally coordinating with American Bridge 21st Century,” he writes.
He also found that Media Matters receives rent payments from American Bridge but doesn’t report the rental income in its tax returns.
The Brock conglomerate also is using a solicitor that does all of its fundraising but is not properly registered in Washington, D.C., or any of the states in which it raises funds.
Analysis of FEC filings and IRS tax returns shows a constant flow of money between the listed organizations, Kerr concludes, with the Bonner Group receiving a 12.5 percent cut every time money is moved.
The organizations operating from Brock’s office are:
- Media Matters for America (501(c)3)
- Media Matters Action Network (501(c)4)
- Correct the Record (super PAC)
- American Bridge 21st Century (super PAC)
- Franklin Forum PAC
- American Bridge 21st Century Foundation (501(c)4)
- The Franklin Education Forum (501(c)3)
- The Franklin Forum (501(c)4)
- The American Independent (501(c)3)
- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington DC (501(c)3)
- American Democracy Legal Fund (527 Committee)
- The Bonner Group (Professional Solicitor)
- American Priorities Joint Fundraising Committee
- Franklin Strategies LLC
‘Constant flow of money’
Uncovered records expose a constant flow of money between Brock’s organizations, Kerr contends.
The Bonner Group raises money for his conglomerate of super PACs and nonprofits, receiving a 12.5 percent cut every time money is moved.
Kerr notes professional solicitors are required to disclose their active solicitation contracts, but the Bonner Group keeps the client list hidden.
Nonprofits are required to disclose the recipients of their cash grants but are not required to disclose the original source of the grants.
“This weak system of one-way verification is being abused by Brock,” asserts Kerr. “He’s been cycling money between his organizations for years, and the Bonner Group’s 12.5 percent commission gets triggered after every pass.”
In 2014, he points out, Media Matters raised just over $10 million through the Bonner Group, which received a commission of about $1.1 million.
That same year, Media Matters gave a $930,000 cash grant to Brock’s Franklin Education Forum, an organization that shares office space with Media Matters.
In 2014, the Franklin Education Forum reported $994,000 in total contributions. Kerr found that 93.6 percent of that total came from Media Matters.
The Franklin Education Forum gave full credit to Bonner for raising the money, paying the fundraiser a $124,250 commission in 2014.
Kerr summed up the transactions:
- Brock’s Media Matters gave a $930,000 cash grant to Brock’s Franklin Education Forum
- Brock’s Franklin Education Forum credited the Bonner Group for raising those funds, triggering the 12.5 percent commission
- Brock paid the Bonner Group a $124,250 commission to solicit a cash grant from himself.
Further, after the Franklin Education Forum retained $869,750, it sent a $816,224 cash grant to Brock’s Franklin Forum.
Kerr points out that the Franklin Education Forum, a 501(c)3, and the Franklin Forum, a 501(c)4, are not the same company.
In short, by funneling a donation through three different organizations, all run by Brock, the Bonner Group earns three commissions of 12.5 percent each. It means that, ultimately, about one third of a donation goes to the Bonner Group.
According to tax returns, Brock allocates each week 31.5 hours to Media Matters, three hours to the Franklin Education Forum and one hour to the Franklin Forum.
Furthermore, the New York Times reported Brock shares a summer rental in the Hamptons with Mary Pat Bonner, the president of the Bonner Group.
“David Brock will have a hard time claiming ignorance on this,” writes Kerr. “These transfers are intentional. He vacations with his solicitor. Case closed.”
He points out that Brock “didn’t even bother to give his organizations different phone numbers.”
“They all share the same phone number!”
‘Confessions of a Right-Wing Hit Man’
Brock, who identifies himself as “gay,” graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and worked for the Heritage Foundation, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times.
In 1993, Brock wrote “The Real Anita Hill,” discrediting the claims of Clarence Thomas’ chief accuser during hearings for Thomas’ nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Brock achieved further public prominence with his 1993 book, “The Real Anita Hill,” a follow-up to his identically titled March 1992 article in the Spectator. In that piece, Brock had described the accuser as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty”; discredited her claims against Thomas; and exposed the left-wing smear campaign against the future Supreme Court justice.
The book’s success led to a $550,000 advance from a conservative publisher to write an investigative biography of Hillary Clinton. While presenting many damaging findings about the Clintons, “The Seduction of Hillary Rodham” ended up portraying Clinton in a sympathetic light, signaling his turn to the left and his eventual status as Hillary Clinton’s “chief attack dog.”
In 1997, Brock lashed back at conservatives in an Esquire magazine article titled “Confessions of a Right-Wing Hit Man,” claiming conservatives were punishing him because he had begun reporting objectively.
In March 1998, he wrote a public letter of apology to Bill Clinton repudiating his past reporting and the troopers who were the sources, calling them “greedy” and “slimy.” His “Troopergate” stories, however, were later corroborated by the Los Angeles Times.
Brock founded Media Matters in 2004 with the mission of “comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.”