June 16, 2010; Source: Colorado Independent | Some foundations are exceptionally generous. The Republican candidate for governor in Colorado, former congressman Scott McInnis, was fortunate to have had a two-year gig with the Hasan Family Foundation. He told a radio interview that the position was “pretty sweet.”
You bet. He was paid $300,000 to write a total of 150 double-spaced pages titled, “Musings on Water.” Neither the Foundation nor the candidate has released “Musings” for public review. But wait, he was paid not as a staff member, but as a “fellow”—but the payments were listed in the Foundation’s 990 as payments to “Scott McInnis Invest 2 LLC” (the foundation’s other fellow, a Professor Albar Ahmad, was paid directly rather than as a corporation, albeit for only $30,000). It’s pretty rare, we think, that foundation or academic fellows are paid as LLC’s rather than individuals.
The politics of the foundation are on the conservative side. The son of the founder ran for and lost the Republican nomination as state treasurer. Among the major grants from the foundation are grants to conservative think tanks such as the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation (Grover Norquist’s organization) and the Independence Institute (with a tagline, “Freedom’s Front Line”); bipartisan groups such as the Center for the Study of the Presidency; and a variety of cultural organizations such as the Kennedy Center. There’s nothing wrong with foundations with conservative leanings or liberal tendencies, but if foundations of either political stripe settle to serve as between-election way-stations for politicians, that’s simply wrong.—Rick Cohen