If you're wealthy and a Republican and you like your donations to be tax-deductible whenever possible, then Donors Trust, Inc. is your kind of "charity". AlterNet touched on the edges of what they do back in October, when they focused on a large donation which funded a weird effort to distribute a DVD entitled "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West", but they primarily focus on the donor¹ and projects around the DVD with Koch Industries as the primary player.
Koch Industries is one player, but they're by no means the only player, nor are they even the only primary player.
What is Donors Trust?
Donors Trust is a tax-deductible slush fund. If a donor or foundation wants to put money toward a project and doesn't want it to be a direct gift reportable to the IRS, all they do is give it to Donors Trust.
Donors Trust has three related project entities, according to their 2009 disclosures:
- Donors Trust, LLC - Created to receive a gift of real property and liquidate it
- Talent Market, LLC - Provides administrative support services
- Center for College Affordability & Productivity, LLC - Research, writing, educational services
There is also Donors Capital Fund, Inc., which is the grantmaking arm and which also receives contributions as a private foundation.
2009 Donors Trust Direct-Funded and Controlled Projects
- The Project on Fair Representation (PFR)
This would be the union-busting, voter ID, minimum wage, public school attacking project, as described in their required disclosures:
The project on fair representation works to effect change in law and public policy through a combination of research, litiigation, and public education in the four areas where racial discrimination is the most entrenched: voting, education, public contracting and employment
- The Supply Side Project (SSP)
This would be the "break the entitlements" project, as they describe this way:
The Supply Side Project develops and advances fundamental market-based reform proposals for Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Welfare and Health Care.
- Center for Class Action Fairness (CCAF)
The tort reform project:
Through pro bono representation of consumers, CCAF seeks to increase net awards to members of class action lawsuits through objections to settlements producing excessive attorney fees. An additional goal is a reduction in meritless class action suits as trial attorneys' awareness of CCAF's watchdog role increases.
Don't be fooled by that claim about increasing net awards to members of class action suits. The real motive is the "additional goal."
- Student Free Press Association (SFPA)
This could also be called the "Fox News Incubator Project".
The Student Free Press Association is an organization run by veteran journalists for the benefit of beginning journalists. It identifies and supports college students seeking to improve campus journalism, explore media careers, and commit themselves to the principles of a free society.
- Talent Market
The placement service for those whose politics align.
A free talent recruitment program available to charities whose mission aligns with Donors Trust's charitable mission
- The Hollywood Project
Terminated in 2009, this was one of the moving parts referenced in Alternet's piece on the Islamic-hysteria video piece timed to push McCain ahead of Obama in 2008. Alternate title: The Propanganda Project.
The project aimed to advance liberty and virtue in America and globally by touching creative professionals at the fulcrum of world visual media: Hollywood.
Some of Donors' Trust's Non-Profit Donors
Since non-profits are not required to disclose individual or corporate donors, there isn't a lot of information available on them. However, foundations are required to disclose grants to other non-profit entities, and with enough time and patience, some facts emerge. Here's what I've found so far, taken from public filings of these foundations with the Internal Revenue Service. I'm certain the list isn't exhaustive, since finding these is a somewhat intuitive process, but it will give you an idea, at least.