Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) is tracking big Solyndra investor, George Kaiser and his George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF), and finding that, perhaps, the “charitable” donations made, do not qualify for the “tremendous subsidy…provided…through the charitable contribution deduction.” With $4 BILLION in assets, the GKFF has given only 2 percent of assets, or about $215.4 MILLION.
Donors of cash and publicly traded securities to public charities can deduct as much as 50 percent of adjusted gross income, Grassley said. The percentage drops to 30 percent if the donations are made to a private foundation, according to Grassley, who said the organization [Kaiser] doesn’t spend enough money on charitable endeavors.
Ah, but the foundation is “taking on…generational poverty, early childhood education, K-12 education, public health, criminal justice, safety net social service,” says the Foundation’s executive director Ken Levit. He also says the Foundation is “prudently preserving resource capacity.”
But the question is, does the Foundation meet the requirement for the tax deductions they receive?
The Kaiser foundation used its role backing the Tulsa Community Foundation to convert from a private charity to a public “supporting organization” 10 years ago, according to Grassley.
The Kaiser foundation’s “low level of support” [$10.5 Million] for the Tulsa Community Foundation “raises serious questions” about whether it qualifies for its favored status, Grassley said in a letter Monday to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman.
“If it had remained a private foundation, it likely would not have been able to invest as much as it did in Solyndra or the other private equity or hedge funds it invested in,” Grassley said at the hearing.
In the weeks before the Obama administration approved a $535 Million loan to Solyndra LLC, George Kaiser logged-in at the White House at least twice, and his investment representatives 16 times. Kaiser wasn’t lobbying for the loan though. He was simply paying his respects to the President he bundled $250,000 for in 2008. While there, it isn’t likely that anyone ask him to explain the six years he avoided paying even a single dollar in federal taxes.
Grassly has been looking at Kaisers GKFF since 2005 and has asked the Obama administration to tighten loophole requirements for deductions. Wasted breath on both sides of the aisle, it seems.
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