Breitbart.com editor Milo Yiannopoulos raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a scholarship fund for white male students. Now that money, which was sent directly to his own bank account, is apparently sitting idle as the new academic season begins.
Yiannopoulos tells The Daily Beast that lawyers are still drafting the paperwork to form a legal charitable nonprofit organization to award the $100,000-250,000 that he says the telethon raised in January.
The Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant has not filed any paperwork to become a charity in the United States. When asked if an application for tax-exempt status had been sent by his lawyers to the Internal Revenue Service, Yiannopoulos said, “I’ll check.”
No scholarships have been awarded and there isn’t even a way for prospective students to apply for them. The grant’s website currently says that “applications are not yet open” and asks people interested in applying “please do not write to us.”
Questions about Yiannopoulos’s intentions began to swirl last week after Margaret MacLennan, a Canadian conservative who had agreed to run the Yiannopoulos Privilege Grant, responded to criticism about the lack of action by pointing out that Yiannopoulos had asked contributors to wire the funds directly to his own bank account.
— Ｍａｒ－Ａ－Ｌａｇｏ💅 (@MargaretsBelly) August 17, 2016
The Daily Beast also talked to experts who said that Yiannopoulos might be breaking the law here. Pace University law professor James Fishman called it “inexcusable” that no one has filed a Form 1023 or put a tax-exempt organization to sponsor the grant program.
Ellis M. Carter, a lawyer specializing in nonprofit groups, told The Daily Beast that the charity might be violating both federal law and some state laws by not declaring itself as a charity to both states and donors.
“There’s state and federal laws against fraud and misrepresentation for declaring a scholarship fund prior to getting an exemption,” said Carter. “They need to be honest about their status if they’re not a 501(c)3.”
When reality show star-turned-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump selected Breitbart News CEO Stephen K. Bannon to serve as his ‘campaign CEO,’ it was a final ‘pivot’ back to the Alt-Right world that has always been the most enthusiastic for his white power candidacy.
With his explicit racism, casual misogyny, and unapologetic nativist propaganda, no figure exemplifies the Alt-Right better than Yiannopoulos, who was recently permabanned from Twitter for captaining the harassment of black Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.
Furthermore, nothing is so characteristic of the bottom-feeders in Breitbart-world as charitable grift.
The improbably-named Republican operative Ali Akbar set out to ‘help’ Andrew Breitbart’s family after his death by plugging his own donations button; more than four years later, Akbar has yet to account for that money, and the IRS still has no record of his ‘National Bloggers Club’ ever applying for nonprofit status.
The execrable Lee Stranahan, who was something of a Renfield to Breitbart’s Dracula, mourned his mentor by selling t-shirts of his face, promising to give the funds to the family. But Stranahan closed the online store without ever indicating that a single dollar had reached its intended recipients. It was just one of many fundraising scams Stranahan has conducted over the years — not that anyone cared at Breitbart; he has quit and been re-hired twice since then.
This kind of self-dealing is not confined to sycophants, editors, and writers, either. No right wing site has monetized its politics quite like Breitbart.com, where the price to have your Tea Party rally covered will be $7,000 payable in advance, thank you very much.
So if Milo Yiannopoulos has acted with total disregard for laws and common decency, he still hasn’t flouted any standards at Breitbart and rightly expects no consequences — even if he keeps the money and spends every penny on himself.
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