As described in the advisory Agency Budget Review Team’s (ABRT) Funding Report:
Virginia Organizing is a statewide grassroots organization dedicated to challenging injustice by empowering people in local communities to address issues that affect the quality of their lives. As a non- partisan organization, Virginia Organizing especially encourages the participation of those who have traditionally had little or no voice in our society. By building relationships with diverse individuals and groups throughout Virginia, Virginia Organizing enhances their ability to work together at a statewide level, democratically and nonviolently, for change. [emphasis added]
Ostensibly, the public monies are being recommended for the operation of VO’s “Community Action on Obesity” program as noted in the ABRT report:
Community Action of [sic] Obesity application was rated as “solid” for the County and “exemplary” for the City (meeting the highest priority related to children). The application presented data about need, a solid evaluation plan, and strong collaboration. Future applications could be strengthened by a more diverse funding base.
So, who is Virginia Organizing?
According to the group’s 2011 IRS form 990, Virginia Organizing:
- Had nearly $5.5 million in “gross receipts”
- Listed total assets of nearly $3 million
- Paid two “key” employees salaries in excess of $153,000 each
- Had “investment income” of $56,291
- Had “savings” and “cash investments” of nearly $2.3 million
- Received $885,000 in “contributions” from the George Soros affiliated Kendeda Fund
- Spent $50,681 in direct and indirect political lobbying efforts and activities
Virginia Organizing’s 2011 Annual Report lists a “statement of beliefs,” which includes recognized Socialist/Communist principles, to wit:
- We believe that every person in the Commonwealth is entitled to a living wage and benefit package that is sufficient to provide the basic necessities of life, including adequate housing, a nutritious diet, proper child care, sound mental and physical health care, and a secure retirement.
- We believe in the elimination of the extremes of wealth and poverty, in a progressive tax system based on the ability to pay, and in making the nation’s financial systems, including the Federal Reserve Bank, more responsive to the average citizen’s needs.
The Annual Report further lauds VO’s “Top Ten of 2011,” including pro-Obamacare and pro-union actions:
- A slew of anti-immigrant bills made their way through the Virginia General Assembly and Virginia Organizing joined the Virginia United for Immigrants Rights coalition to eventually defeat most of the dangerous bills.
- A Richmond-based Federal Court threw out Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s lawsuit against the new health care law and Virginia Organizing was there to speak out every step of the way.
- In solidarity with Wisconsin workers, Virginia Organizing spoke out against anti-union laws and Governor Bob McDonnell’s support of Governor Scott Walker.
Press releases sent out by the group confirm Virginia Organizing’s penchant for class warfare and leftist political causes:
- “Virginia Organizing has been championing progressive tax reform as a way to create revenue and ease the tax burden on the poor and middle class.” —March 4, 2010
- “Ken Cuccinelli is advancing his ideological agenda at the expense of the taxpayers by attempting to deny health insurance reform to the people of Virginia.” —March 24, 2010
- “The health insurance reform legislation that President Obama signed into law yesterday will provide Virginia’s small businesses and families with access to affordable health insurance and will put an end to insurance company abuses.” —March 24, 2010
- “Make tax increases and tax reform one and the same, including by repealing unworthy tax expenditures” and “Challenge anti-tax activists who promote unfair and unsound taxes in the name of lower taxes”—March 30, 2010
- “Do we keep the Bush Tax Cuts for the richest 2 percent? Or do we end them for good, and invest in the other 98 percent of us instead?”—November 15, 2010
- “Already we have seen a slew of bills filed that weaken the safety net, restrict voting rights and chip away at workers’ rights. Additionally, the Governor’s budget relies on further cuts to education and health care, instead of closing corporate tax loopholes,” —January 13, 2012
- “Virginia Organizing has made Medicaid expansion in Virginia its top priority at this year’s General Assembly.”—February 6, 2013
- “Virginia Organizing has also called on Congress, especially U.S. Senator Mark Warner, to consider revenue increases…”—March 4, 2013
- Virginia Organizing, a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization, issued a statement today condemning the U.S. House of Representatives budget commonly referred to as the “Ryan Budget.”—March 13, 2013
- “We need comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship that is fair for the millions of immigrants living and working among us today.”—April 8, 2013
While the ABRT—itself composed predominantly of social and fiscal progressives—has recommended funding, ultimately, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will decide if it is appropriate to subsidize Virginia Organizing with taxpayer dollars.
Before doing so, they should ask themselves:
- Does an organization with a reported $2.3 million in liquid assets need public money?
- Is it appropriate to give public funds to an overtly political organization?
- What precedent will this funding set for future requests from other political organizations?
- Is “obesity” prevention a core function of county government?
- Will the receipt of these funds enable Virginia Organizing to devote existing resources to favored progressive causes?
- If approved, will it be possible to extricate Virginia Organizing from the county budget in future years?
For these, and for many other obvious reasons, this unprecedented, politically motivated request for taxpayer funding of Virginia Organizing’s anti-liberty lobbying efforts should be denied—and the Agency Budget Review Team that recommended it should be fired.
[h/t Dr. Charles Battig]