Friday, January 29, 2016

Klingenschmitt again under attack

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 12:49 PM

Klingenschmitt: Again under attack. - BRIAN SCANNELL
  • Brian Scannell
  • Klingenschmitt: Again under attack.
Colorado Government Watch, formerly known as Colorado Springs Government Watch, has filed a complaint with the IRS regarding State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt's non-profit.

Much of what's being raised in this latest offensive isn't new, but it's interesting that the CGW, run by Gazette editorial writer Wayne Laugesen's wife, Dede Laugesen, is timing the announcement in plenty of time for the March 1 caucuses at which delegates for the Republican assembly will be chosen. The assembly will be held March 26.

Former Rep. Bob Gardner, an attorney and former county party chair, is running against Klingenschmitt for a state Senate seat.

Klingenschmitt responded by providing a statement and also saying that Laugesen's group itself is under IRS investigation. More on that later.

Here are the CGW allegations posted on the group's website:
Citing a series of “deficiencies, discrepancies and irregularities” at a controversial tax-exempt charity run by state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, of Colorado Springs, Colorado Government Watch filed a complaint this week with the federal Internal Revenue Service, calling for an investigation and audit of the operation.

Klingenschmitt’s Persuade the World Ministries, also known as Pray in Jesus Name—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose only officer is Klingenschmitt—took in more than $850,000 in tax-deductible contributions in 2014, its latest tax returns show.

The organization already is the subject of a separate inquiry by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office following a complaint filed with that agency by Colorado Government Watch last fall. In that action we called for a determination that the Klingenschmitt-run charity broke state law by soliciting and collecting donations while its registration was under suspension by the secretary of state for several months in 2014 and 2015. A resolution of that investigation is still pending.

Klingenschmitt has declined to disclose donors and other details of his nonprofit operation, which has collected more than $1 million since 2010, according to the most recent available tax records. The first-term legislator also runs a parallel, for-profit venture called GJK Inc., aka Pray in Jesus Name Project, which appears to work in tandem with the nonprofit.

In our latest action, we ask the IRS to determine if Persuade the World Ministries is operating in compliance with its tax-exempt, tax-deductible status given wide-ranging and long-standing concerns about how Klingenschmitt runs the organization. Among the concerns we cite are:

•An absence of transparency and accountablity surrounding the charity’s affairs as reflected in gaps, inconsistencies and vagueness in its tax filings.
•Questionable and possibly inappropriate ties between Klingenschmitt’s for-profit and non-profit operations—providing nearly indistinguishable donation options to both ventures on the nonprofit’s website.
•Disregard for standards of responsible governance of a nonprofit. Klingenschmitt has exercised sole authority over the finances of the nonprofit since it was set up in 1999, operating it without even a board of directors.
•No indentifiable verification in the organization’s tax records of claims by Klingenschmitt that he built an orphanage for 94 children in India or raised funds for mental health and victims of sexual abuse, for widows, or for victims of the Haiti earthquake, the Black Forest fire and the Boulder flood.
Klingenschmitt's statement:
Dede Laugesen has jumped the shark, but God Bless her. She already admitted her motives are entirely political, but today she files a frivolous complaint, further abusing her own organization's non-profit status to engage in partisan electioneering to (in her words) remove me from office. My charity is so clean that I've never taken one dime in salary from my own non-profit since I founded it in 1999, yet we built an orphanage in India, we care for widows, and promote prayer in Jesus' name on television. My CPA is a former IRS agent, and our charity already passed a self-imposed audit last year with flying colors. We have no complaints from the IRS whatsoever. Sadly the IRS confirms Dede's own phony non-profit organization (that only does apparently illegal electioneering) is already under IRS investigation. Dede is now the black pot falsely accusing the white kettle.
He also provided these documents to demonstrate that CGW is being investigated, although they don't really substantiate that. They show he has filed complaints against the group.

Klingenschmitt has made a name for himself for his extreme positions and hate-based speech, which we've written about here and here.




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