September 5, 2010; Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser | Beware the unnamed volunteer who surreptitiously puts campaign endorsements of the daughter of a nonprofit’s founder on the nonprofit’s website—unbeknownst to everyone. And make sure you lock the door when you leave the house and turn off the burner on the range. In Hawaii, the website of a 9/11-oriented nonprofit called Stand Up for America, created by Honolulu City Council candidate Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo and her father, State Senator Mike Gabbard, was discovered to have a news release about Tamayo’s candidacy and a link to Tamayo’s campaign website. That’s not kosher. Tamayo said that she didn’t know the materials were on the Stand Up website, placed there as an “honest mistake” by a volunteer, and had them immediately taken down. But does Stand Up have a purpose other than promoting Tamayo? The organization exists, formally, to promote patriotism and “America’s unity as ‘one nation under God.'” But it hasn’t done anything since a 2007 lecture series it sponsored and a 2005 “Raise a Purple Finger for Freedom” campaign in solidarity with Iraq’s first national democratic elections. It took in less than the required minimum in 2009 to necessitate a full Form 990 filing. It may be virtually nonexistent, but the SUFA website contains a long, effusive paean to Tulsi Tamayo that does a great job in describing her many wonderful qualities, but seems to have little connection to any charitable purpose of the organization. Sorry, but the Tamayo explanation doesn’t ring true. The organization appears to be little more than a vehicle for whatever Gabbard and Tamayo want to say and do, which appears at the moment mostly to be concerned with Tamayo’s political future. And that’s not a convincingly 501(c)(3) purpose.—Rick Cohen
About The Author
Rick joined NPQ in 2006, after almost eight years as the executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). Before that he played various roles as a community worker and advisor to others doing community work. He also worked in government. Cohen pursued investigative and analytical articles, advocated for increased philanthropic giving and access for disenfranchised constituencies, and promoted increased philanthropic and nonprofit accountability.