Rival Questions Michael Brown’s Nonprofit
At-Large D.C. Council candidate David Grosso has called on the IRS to audit a nonprofit once run by his opponent, Councilmember Michael Brown.
The Ronald H. Brown Foundation, named after Brown's late father, lost its tax-exempt status in 2010, does not appear to have filed a tax return since 2001, and had its corporate registration revoked in 2006. Brown was listed as the group's president and treasurer in its 2004 filings with the city. The organization has had at least two golf tournament fundraisers since the District revoked its registration.
In 2007, the foundation had a tournament at the fancy Raspberry Farms Golf & Hunt Club in Leesburg, Va., to raise money for the foundation as well as for victims of Sept. 11. In an online video, a representative from Comcast says he's happy his organization could help fund the event. In 2008, the foundation had a tourney in Denver during the Democratic National Convention. Grosso's campaign says the foundation also held golf fundraisers in 2002 and 2004.
LL can't find any active or even recent websites for the Ronald H. Brown Foundation. A spokeswoman for the Ron Brown Scholars Program, a currently active organization that gives college scholarships to needy students, says Michael Brown has no affiliation with the group.
Neither Brown's campaign nor his D.C. Council office immediately responded to requests for comment.
Update: Brown says in a statement that the foundation does not have tax filings on record because it did not gross more than $25,000 a year, and therefore wasn't required by the IRS to file. Tax records show that the foundation raised $544,000 in 2001, the last year it filed taxes. Brown says the 2008 golf tournament was the foundation's "final activity" and that the foundation has "no outstanding issues or matters to be resolved." Brown's statement did not address why it apparently operated for two years without being properly registered with the District.
Brown also took a swipe at Grosso. "To attempt to denigrate the name of my late father and the important work the Ronald H. Brown Foundation and its progeny have accomplished is the lowest form of politics, and shows the true character of my opponent," says Brown.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery