Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Trump White House is going to be very, very Koch-y.

By Alex Kotch

The Trump White House is going to be very, very Koch-y.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, billionaire industrialists and Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch made headlines by refusing to endorse a candidate. But ads in U.S. Senate races paid for by Koch-linked independent political groups hurt the image of Donald Trump's foe, Hillary Clinton, whom they criticized while associating Democratic Senate candidates with her. And the massive ground game of the Kochs' well-known political group, Americans for Prosperity, helped turn out thousands of Trump voters in battleground states.

From the time Trump picked his vice presidential running mate, Koch favorite Mike Pence, the brothers' influence on Trump World has grown ever stronger.

From transition team staffers to his cabinet, Trump has brought numerous Koch lieutenants and allies into his inner circle. His taunting of Marco Rubio for being a "puppet" of the Koch brothers is long gone. It's very likely that Trump is eager to work with Charles and David Koch, who represent exactly what Trump values most—wealth and power—which is also reflected in his potential Cabinet of billionaire executives. And though the Kochs may object to Trump's Islamophobia or other select viewpoints, they stand to add to their combined $88 billion through Trump's planned environmental deregulation, privatization, corporate tax cuts and other policies favoring the wealthy to be carried out by his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pick, who recently sued that agency; his secretary of state choice, the CEO of Exxon; his labor pick, a fast-food CEO who doesn't believe in the minimum wage; and others.

David Koch attended Trump's election night victory party. Then on Dec. 21, Trump had an informal chat with Koch at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida (where Koch is a member) about "preparations for his administration."

The Kochs' allies have been helping shape the Trump administration for some time. The liberal Center for American Progress's political arm found that one-third of Trump's transition team, which recommends Cabinet nominees, ambassadors and advisers to the president-elect, has ties to the Koch brothers. These transition team members include Trump mega-donors who are also part of the Koch political network, such as Rebekah Mercer, and employees of Koch-funded think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Institute for Energy Research.

Here's a look at some of the top Koch allies who'll be running the government very soon and what kinds of Koch-backed policies we can expect them to champion.

The Koch Brothers' Darling

The Kochs must have popped champagne when Trump announced that Mike Pence, the conservative governor of Indiana, would be his running mate. Pence is adored by the Kochs and their vast political donor network; Ken Vogel and Maggie Haberman described him in Politico as "among the best … messengers for this new Koch brand in a field of prospective [presidential] candidates who fit some portions of the brothers' political bent but not others." Pence has addressed a gathering of Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs' most well-known political group that spends millions on elections each cycle opposing liberal policies and helping elect conservative Republicans. This year he planned to speak at one of the Kochs' donor seminars, where the brothers meet with uber-wealthy allies and pool their hundreds of millions of dollars for joint political spending, but canceled two weeks beforehand.

David Koch gave Pence's two gubernatorial campaigns $300,000. Americans for Prosperity ran ads supporting Pence, and the Republican Governors Association, to which Koch and Koch Industries have donated a combined $10.8 million since 2003, spent $4.2 million in 2012 and 2016 backing Pence.

Pence, who may be an even more powerful vice president than Dick Cheney, will be in prime position to advocate for the issues about which the Kochs care most, including corporate tax cuts, which he instituted in Indiana, and opposition to bailouts and market regulation. According to Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., Pence will be in charge of both domestic and foreign policy. And he'll preside over the U.S. Senate, over which Republicans have a narrow majority.

"Indiana is one big free market, [and] much like Koch Industries, Mike Pence … picks the right fights," said Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster whose company has worked for Pence and for Americans for Prosperity. Conway became Trump's campaign manager last August and was recently named a "counselor to the president" who will help "effectively message and execute the Administration's legislative priorities and actions." Conway is also a board member of the Koch-aligned and Koch-funded Independent Women's Forum, which, The Nation reports, has pushed the Koch agenda.

Several of Pence's former staffers have gone on to work in the Koch political network, including Marc Short, who went from being Pence's chief of staff when Pence was a congressman to president of Freedom Partners, the Koch political operation's "central bank," which gives out enormous amounts of money to right-wing political spending groups. Short returned to advising Pence this summer when the governor joined Trump's campaign and will soon take a job in the West Wing, likely heading legislative affairs, according to the Washington Post.

Above is from:  http://www.ecowatch.com/koch-brothers-trump-team-2188567799.html

What tax documents must an exempt organization make available for public inspection and copying?

 

 

Public Disclosure and Availability of Exempt Organizations Returns and Applications: Documents Subject to Public Disclosure

An exempt organization must make available for public inspection its exemption application. An exemption application includes the Form 1023 (for organizations recognized as exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3)), Form 1024 (for organizations recognized as exempt under most other paragraphs of section 501(c)), or the letter submitted under the paragraphs for which no form is prescribed, together with supporting documents and any letter or document issued by the IRS concerning the application. A political organization exempt from taxation under section 527(a) must make available for public inspection and copying its notice of status, Form 8871.

In addition, an exempt organization must make available for public inspection and copying its annual return. Such returns include Form 990 , Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, Form 990-EZ , Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation, Form 990-BL , Information and Initial Excise Tax Return for Black Lung Benefit Trusts and Certain Related Persons, and the Form 1065 , U.S. Partnership Return of Income.  

A section 501(c)(3) organization must make available for public inspection and copying any Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, filed after August 17, 2006. Returns must be available for a three-year period beginning with the due date of the return (including any extension of time for filing). For this purpose, the return includes any schedules, attachments, or supporting documents that relate to the imposition of tax on the unrelated business income of the charity. See Public Inspection and Disclosure of Form 990-T for more information.

An exempt organization is not required to disclose Schedule K-1 of Form 1065 or Schedule A of Form 990-BL. With the exception of private foundations, an exempt organization is not required to disclose the name and address of any contributor to the organization.

A political organization exempt from taxation under section 527(a) must make available for inspection and copying its report of contributions and expenditures on Form 8872, Political Organization Report of Contributions and Expenditures. However, such organization is not required to make available its return on Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 07-Nov-2016

Above is from: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/public-disclosure-and-availability-of-exempt-organizations-returns-and-applications-documents-subject-to-public-disclosure

US agrees to pay billions to Marines affected by toxic water

 

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has agreed to provide disability benefits totaling more than $2 billion to veterans who had been exposed to contaminated drinking water while assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

The decision was quietly made public Thursday with a notice in the Federal Register, the government's official journal.

Beginning in March, the cash payouts from the Department of Veterans Affairs may supplement VA health care already being provided to eligible veterans stationed at the Marine base for at least 30 days cumulative between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987. Veterans will have to submit evidence of their diagnosis and service information.

Outgoing VA Secretary Bob McDonald determined that there was "sufficient scientific and medical evidence" to establish a connection between exposure to the contaminated water and eight medical conditions for purposes of awarding disability compensation.

The estimated taxpayer cost is $2.2 billion over a five-year period. The VA estimates that as many as 900,000 service members were potentially exposed to the tainted water.

"This is good news," said retired Marine Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, whose daughter Janey was born in 1976 while he was stationed at Lejeune. Janey died from leukemia at age 9. Ensminger now heads a veterans group, The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten, which advocates for those seeking disability compensation.

"This has been a hard, long slog," said Ensminger, who says the government must go further in covering additional diseases. "This is not the end of the issue."

The new rule covers active duty, Reserve and National Guard members who developed one of eight diseases: adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and Parkinson's disease.

Documents uncovered by veterans groups over the years suggest Marine leaders were slow to respond when tests first found evidence of contaminated ground water at Camp Lejeune in the early 1980s. Some drinking water wells were closed in 1984 and 1985, after further testing confirmed contamination from leaking fuel tanks and an off-base dry cleaner. The Marine Corps has said the contamination was unintentional, occurring when federal law didn't limit toxins in drinking water.

Spurred by Ensminger's case, Congress in 2012 passed a bill signed into law by President Barack Obama extending free VA medical care to affected veterans and their families. But veterans were not automatically provided disability aid or survivor benefits. The issue has prompted lawsuits by veterans organizations, which note that military personnel in Camp Lejeune housing "drank, cooked and bathed" in contaminated water for years.

"Expanded coverage is making progress, but we also need to know whether the government may be purposefully leaving people out," said Rick Weidman, executive director of Vietnam Veterans of America.

Affected veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune may now submit applications for benefits, once the rule is officially published Friday. Roughly 1,400 disability claims related to Lejeune are already pending, and will be reviewed immediately, according to the VA.

Above is from:  http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/us-agrees-to-pay-billions-to-marines-affected-by-toxic-water/ar-AAlOrhF?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartandhp

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Meeting next week will determine if Belvidere Township allows Helnore on ballot for supervisor election

 
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The article is from:  http://www.rrstar.com/news/20170111/belvidere-township-supervisor-candidate-may-have-too-few-valid-signatures-to-run  Go to that site to view the video.
Wednesday
Posted Jan 11, 2017 at 7:38 PM Updated Jan 12, 2017 at 12:12 AM
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By Susan Vela
Staff writer

BELVIDERE - Former township assessor Diann Helnore may not have enough valid signatures to challenge Supervisor Bill Robertson in the April 4 general election.

Boone County Clerk Mary Steurer told the Belvidere Township Officers Electoral Board that Helnore's 236 valid signatures are eight shy of the 244 required.

The board consisting of township Trustees Richard Nelson, Judy Schabacker and Bob Turner shared Steurer's report during a hearing today.

They will decide whether Helnore's name will appear on the April 4 ballot at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Belvidere Township Town Hall, 8200 Fairgrounds Road.

Helnore, who is running as an independent, intends to contest she has more than the required amount. Her nomination petitions had a total of 304 signatures.

"We did have some from other townships, but most of them are valid," she said after today's hearing. "We'll exceed the number that we need easily. I think it's over 250. It might be 260. I'm looking forward to getting on the ballot."

Robertson declined to comment, saying only that he will not talk about the matter until it's settled.

His attorney, Jim Hursh, also declined comment. He has asked the board to ban more evidence from Helnore at Tuesday's hearing.

"Anything could happen," Township Attorney Keri-Lyn Krafthefer said. "(However), this is an area of the law where close enough isn't sufficient."

Helnore served as township assessor from 2010 to 2013. She said she decided to run a few weeks before the Dec. 19 deadline. She sought signatures during snowstorms, she said.