PUBLIC OUTCRY: Should Arizona “Organizers” Receive Over 30% On Your Donated Dollar on Recall Efforts?Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
I’m sure you have heard of social welfare organizations who have been on notice for abusing their non profit status. This issue has dominated recent news with regard to some tea party groups — but what about other groups?
There is now public outcry from Arizona Democratic grassroots community organizers like Gail Shoultes and Angel Garcia (who have created the Arizona Working Democrats Club locally). Arizona Progressive Democratic organizers are cleaning their own “Democratic House,” too.
Gail and Angel decided to take a closer look at Randy Parraz and Citizens for Better Arizona (CBA), and the results of their investigation are enclosed here for you to analyze for yourself. Parraz has prided himself on the Recall Russell Pearce efforts until his Recall Arpaio effort failed miserably. Indeed many are wanting to know what happened to the claimed $1.3 million donated in failed recall Arpaio effort.
Gail and Angel believe Mr. Parraz has carved out a career for himself as a “consultant” to the organization he co-founded. At first they were under the impression Parraz was a volunteer (like them) trying to effect change for the better but what they discovered from the only Arizona finance report Parraz has ever filed was that he was no volunteer, he was a paid community organizer. He is paid from public donations and contributions and you can see in their below graph where it appears the leader of the pack is receiving at least 30% of every dollar that is donated.
Gail Shoultes recently delivered this media packet to Brahm Resnik of Channel 12, Channels 3, 5, 10, 15 & ASU’s Cronkite News with the below cover letter that states:
June 11, 2013
Angel Garcia and I are local community organizers and progressive Democrats. We became aware of the activities of local activist Randy Parraz in January 2011. He announced the formation of an organization called Citizens for a Better Arizona with the intent to recall former Arizona Senator Russell Pearce due to all the anti-immigrant legislation he was trying to pass. The other activity that had consumed Parraz/CBA was railing against Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.
At first, we were on board with Mr. Parraz and CBA and supported his efforts, but that all changed about one year later. CBA was originally registered with the state as a “recall committee.” It all seemed on the up and up until the recall and special election ended. When, at the end of January 2012, Citizens for a Better Arizona announced their immediate support for Paul Penzone, Democratic Primary candidate for Sheriff of Maricopa County, it became clear that CBA had expanded well beyond a recall committee. In fact, it was about this time that Parraz/CBA began communicating they were now a “social welfare organization.”
Citizens for a Better Arizona continued to ask for donations to support their activites related to promoting Penzone and hammering on Arpaio. What piqued our interest in examining CBA further was the fact that they no longer published their Arizona finance reports. Parraz is a man who continually preaches about transparency from our elected leaders, yet he had become secretive about CBA’s finances. It is true that non-profit organizations that call themselves social welfare organizations are not required by state law to publish their finance reports. It is also true, however, that social welfare organizations are not free to engage in political activity without bounds.
We decided to take a closer look at Parraz and CBA. The results of our investigation are enclosed for you to analyze for yourself. Mr. Parraz has carved out a career for himself as a “consultant” to the organization he co-founded. At first we were under the impression he was a volunteer, just like us, trying to effect change for the better. What we discovered from the only Arizona finance report he ever filed was that he was no volunteer, he was a paid community organizer.
In the spirit of accountability and transparency we submit these investigative results to you for your consideration. The community deserves to know the truth about whose lead they are following. They deserve to know that 30 cents of every dollar they donate goes to Parraz directly. They deserve to know that CBA is far more a political action committee than a social welfare organization. The IRS should know that too, especially in light of the IRS interest in non-profit organizations that call themselves social welfare organizations under IRC section 501 (c)(4), but are involved primarily in political activity. Please contact Gail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or need clarification on anything that has been presented.
Gail raises good questions. For instance, why are there discrepancies in the CBA federal tax return for 2011 — an IRS form 990-EZ (document #6) submitted by Randy Parraz, President vs the forensic federal tax return prepared by a hired accountant using the Arizona finance report submitted by Citizens for Better Arizona for the tax year 2011 (document #7)?
Gail and Angel believe the most glaring problem with these 2 documents is that there are different sets of figures reported. In their findings, Document #7 below was prepared by an unbiased party using the very figures CBA submitted to the Arizona Secretary of State, and they surmise that document #7 is the accurate tax return. They believe Document #6 (report submitted by Parraz) appears not to be an accurate tax return. Additionally, it appears Parraz failed to include “in-kind” donations int he information submitted to the IRS. All “in-kind” donations would appear in both the Income and the Expenditures columns, and even so, the figures Parraz reported do not match the figures on the forensic tax return or on the CBA Arizona Finance Report.
Gail Shoultes financially contributed to CBA, and she believes the community deserves to know the truth about whose lead they are following. Gail and Angel believe the community deserves to know that 30 cents of every dollar they donate goes to Parraz directly. They also believe the public should know that CBA is far more a political action committee than a social welfare organization.
In an attempt to do more digging, both Gail and Angel wrote a letter to Chad Snow who is the Chairman of CBA below: