How much $$$ does tea party co-founder Mark Meckler earn?

Mother Jones has published the second installment of its investigation of the tea party, titled “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.”

“The nation’s largest tea party group wants your money. Just don’t inquire about where it’s going,” it reads. “There’s nothing illegal about what TPP is doing—but it’s certainly not the action of an outfit that welcomes public scrutiny.”

Some highlights of the report:

•”TPP claims it is a 501(c)(4) entity. That means the group does not pay taxes, but donations to the group aren’t tax-deductible. Yet despite raising millions of dollars since its founding in February 2009, TPP has not even applied to the IRS for such official status, according to a TPP spokesman. And the IRS confirms that it has not filed paperwork that would reveal basic information about its finances.”

•”(Jenny) Martin said last summer that she was making $6,000 a month for her work. But activists have been unable to officially confirm her salary or Meckler’s. Asked late last year by Mother Jones, Meckler refused to say how much he’s being paid, though such information is legally required to be disclosed on a charity’s tax forms.

•”TPP’s honchos don’t take kindly to questions about how they are spending the group’s money, either.”

The rest of the article is here.

Transparency in a newsroom — always a good place to start

Newspapers like to shine at light at others but aren’t always good when it comes to writing about themselves.

At The Union, Nevada City beat reporter Michelle Rindels is listed on the online masthead. But her new Twitter account, opened more than two weeks ago, states she is reporting on the Nevada state legislature for the Associated Press.

In recent weeks the sports editor, Brian Hamilton, has been writing about Nevada City and the City Editor, Trina Kleist, is writing about Grass Valley with the byline “senior staff reporter.” Liz Kellar is the court reporter, and Kyle Magin is the county reporter.

And it looks like Angela Diaz — the former reader liaison — is now a staff writer. So who’s the reader liaison? The last information that was posted about the newsroom lineup is here.

A community newspaper is an intimate place: The community and its readers should know what’s up.

Mississippi license plate would honor KKK founder

Nathan Bedford Forrest
“There is growing controversy over a Mississippi specialty license plate that would honor a former Ku Klux Klan leader,” according to a Jackson, Miss., television news report.

“The group pushing for plates honoring general Nathan Bedford Forrest wants them available to the public in 2014. The Mississippi division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans wants to sponsor five state-issued license plates.

“They would commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. One of the plates would feature Forrest who was a confederate general.”

“The state NAACP says Mississippi shouldn’t honor a man who was an early leader of what they call a terrorist group.

“‘Because it says we haven’t progressed others say Mississippi hasn’t come that far so why give them an instance to say that while still celebrating the past,’ Vanessa McDowell told WJTV.

“Since its part of the past others say it shouldn’t really matter.”

The rest of the article is here.

Mother Jones magazine investigates tea party in three-part series

Editor’s note: Mother Jones magazine has launched a three-part series on the tea party patriots. This is the first. I will link to the others when they run later in the week.

“Two years ago, Tea Party Patriots got its start as a scrappy, ground-up conservative organization. Its rowdy activists demanded more transparency and less business-as-usual in the nation’s capital, and they worked hard to elect candidates who they believed wouldn’t succumb to the ways of Washington.

“But it didn’t take long for the grassroots tea party organization to embrace the DC establishment—and some of its more questionable practices. Lately, Tea Party Patriots (TPP) has started to resemble the Beltway lobbying operations its members have denounced.

‘”Tea Party Patriots? I can’t attribute one victory to them at all,’ Laura Boatright, a former TPP regional coordinator in Southern California who has become an outspoken critic, told the publication. ‘Where’s the success with what they’ve done with all this money? My view is that it’s just a career plan’ for its national leaders—namely Jenny Beth Martin, who in 2010 was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and Mark Meckler, now a regular commentator on Fox News. (Meckler and Martin did not respond to a request to comment for the Rolling Stone story.)

The rest of the article is here.

TOMORROW: TPP says it’s a nonprofit political charity. “News to us,” says the IRS.

Will Nate Beason run again for county supervisor?

Editor’s note: I received this email about Nate Beason holding a town hall meeting — that’s at least one more than his former colleague and staunch conservative John Spencer held! It got me wondering again if Beason is going to run for a third term when his latest one expires in 2012.

As I’ve written many times before, Nate’s replacement would likely to be more liberal, riling some locals (including our “wingnut” blogging contingent) up in the foothills surrounding Nevada City. They haven’t always been very kind to him. Two of our five supervisors have a college degree, and Nate is one of them. He also has a master’s.

Supervisor Beason to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Chicago Park

Nate Beason, Nevada County Supervisor for District 1, will hold a town hall meeting to present information on the County budget, its impact on County services, and other issues affecting Nevada County. He welcomes the opportunity to meet constituents, answer questions and listen to concerns. The meeting will be held at 6:30PM on Thursday, February 24th at the Chicago Park Elementary School library, 15725 Mt. Olive Road, Chicago Park.

The Board of Supervisors is the legislative and executive body of County government. The County serves as an arm of the state in providing critical health and human services such as public assistance, public health, child and adult protective services, child support services, Medi-cal, housing programs and veterans services. Other core services include infrastructure, roads, jail, law enforcement and land use and development within the unincorporated areas.

District 1 serves the areas of Peardale, Chicago Park, Cedar Ridge, Banner Mountain, Cascade Shores, Nevada City and the Highway 174 corridor. If you are not sure which district you live in, please contact the Board of Supervisors office at 265-1480.

WHERE: Chicago Park Elementary School library, 15725 Mt. Olive Road, Chicago Park.
WHEN: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 6:30 PM.

How taxpayers have subsidized Murdoch and Fox News

“One of the things that I have been thinking about is that News Corp. (probably) gets far more tax subsidy than NPR through tax writeoffs. If Rupert Murdoch agrees to forgo any tax writeoffs than maybe we can talk about removing public funding from NPR,” as one observer notes.

Throughout the years, The Economist and others “dug deeper” to “out” Murdoch: “A (1999) report in the Economist newspaper offers an intriguing update. It states that in the four years to 30 June last year, Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation and its subsidiaries paid only A$325m (£128m) in corporate taxes worldwide. That translates as 6% of the A$5.4bn consolidated pre-tax profits for the same period.

“By comparison another multi-national media empire, Disney, paid 31%.

“However, analysts suggest Mr Murdoch’s team broadly employ three strategies:

Tax relief claimed on debt interest repayments.
A reliance on off-shore tax havens.
Exploiting global differences in accounting standards.
The first principle, which effectively allows companies to off-set profits against previous losses, is well established, says Iain Stewart, a partner with the accountancy firm KPMG.”

The articles are here, here and here.