New NPR Sting Video Proves That Controversial Donors Are Allowed to Donate Anonymously

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 10 2011 4:25 PM

New NPR Sting Video Proves That Controversial Donors Are Allowed to Donate Anonymously

Project Veritas releases its second NPR video , although this one administers, at best, a flesh wound.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


The reason I say it doesn't wound deeply -- nothing that's discussed here is illegal. "Simon Templar" asks Betsy Liley, at NPR, if his group can give money without its name* showing up on NPR's paperwork. Indeed, it can.

LILEY: We also got an $8 million gift -- I don't know if you remember this, about two years ago, a number of institutions, higer ed institutions, all with women as presidents, got donations that ranged from $5 million to $12 million. They were never identified, where the donations were from. And it added up to about to about $80 million. And it all happened in about two weeks.

TEMPLAR: They move pretty fast.

LILEY: We couldn't even figure out who it was, nor were we supposed to, so we didn't attempt to.

TEMPLAR: It sounded like you were saying that NPR would be able to shield us from a government audit.

LILEY: I think that is the case, especially if you were anonymous, and I can inquire about that.

Basically, Templar is using fishy-sounding language to describe something that's not ideal, but legal. The problem comes in if you think NPR shouldn't accept donations from a group that admits it was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and whose representatives worry about Jewish control of the media.

But that leads to another problem. Project Veritas, which filmed this, has an appeal to donors on its website. It doesn't have a list of donors. This is an odd line of attack of NPR unless PV is willing to reveal the names of everyone and every group who gives it money. It doesn't have to! Neither, of course, does NPR.

UPDATE: Ah -- Lee Doren points out to me (on Twitter) that NPR had originally said it denied the phony Muslim group's donation every time it was offered, while the evidence here suggests that NPR never did. Add that to the damage.

*I've fixed this from "it" to "its name."

UPDATE II: NPR has released a new statement distancing itself from Liley's description of how the anonymous donation could be reported.

The statement made by Betsy Liley in the audio tapes released today regarding thepossibility of making an anonymous gift that would remain invisible to taxauthorities is factually inaccurate and not reflective of NPR’s giftpractices.  All donations – anonymous and named – are fullyreported to the IRS. NPR complies with all financial, tax and disclosureregulations.

Through unequivocal words and actions, NPR hasrenounced and condemned the secretly recorded statements of Ron Schiller and Betsy Liley. Mr. Schiller is no longer with NPR andMs. Liley has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation ofthe matter.

No stronger statement of disavowal and disapproval ispossible. NPR will not be deterred from its news mission and will ultimately bejudged by the millions and millions of listeners and readers who have come torely on us every day.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 22 2014 8:07 AM Why Haven’t the Philadelphia Eagles Ever Won a Super Bowl?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.