August 23, 2011; Source: The Boston Globe | For someone with political aspirations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Alan Khazei has been, at the very least, a bit careless as a manager of Be the Change, the nonprofit he founded in 2007. Khazei recently resigned from the organization to devote his time to the race for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Scott Brown.
The Boston Globe reports that Khazei apparently contracted with his brother Lance over a three-year period to help with Be the Change’s internet strategy, write promotional materials, and deal with celebrities, paying him $40,000. This would appear to run afoul of the organization’s conflict-of-interest policies, which state that if an officer is involved in a contract where they have a financial interest “directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family,” the contract must go the board for review. This review is to be conducted with no involvement by the parties that may be in conflict.
In fact, the Globe reports, the board was not consulted before the contract was signed. The current CEO and Khazei’s successor at Be the Change has produced a memo from a lawyer, written after the fact, saying that Alan Khazei did not violate the conflict-of-interest policy because he would not have benefited financially from his brother’s income.
For his part, Khazei also sees no problem with Be the Change’s relationship with his brother, telling the Globe, “He’s a professional. His rate as a writer was multiple times that. We’re very close and he’s very talented.” Regardless of Khazei’s brother’s talents, they do not undo the appearance of conflict of interest and self-dealing.
This latest revelation comes one week after media reports that Khazei is currently being paid by Be the Change at a rate of $10,000 to $12,000 a month as a consultant.—Ruth McCambridge