THE ‘FRIENDS OF CHARIHO’ CONTINUES TO OPERATE OUTSIDE THE RULES

Forgotten Taxpayers PAC
Press Release
Contact: Clay Johnson
Email: ForgottenTaxpayers@gmail.com

For Immediate Release

May 14, 2024
Richmond, RI – The Forgotten Taxpayers PAC once again expresses concerns regarding the practices of the Friends of Chariho for the Future supposed charity.

Speaking for the Forgotten Taxpayers, Clay Johnson said, “We maintain doubts that the mission of the 501(c)(3) non-profit meets the IRS standards for being a charitable organization. They are not acting like a religious, educational, scientific, or charitable organization. They are acting like a political action committee that only spends money on supporting the school budget referendum. By engaging in the debate over the school bond, they also expanding their engagement in the political process.” In early May, a postcard was sent to homes encouraging a vote in support of the $150 million school bond.

The stated mission of the Friends of Chariho for the Future, according to their latest filing with the Rhode Island Secretary of State, is to “organize volunteers and fundraise to support the Chariho Regional School District and the tri-town Chariho community, as well as advocate for the passing of the annual Chariho Regional School District budget.”

As of early April 2024, the board of the Friends of Chariho for the Future consisted of James McCabe, Robin Woodmansee, Endawnis Spears, and Jessica Purcell – a sitting school committee member. Purcell was dropped from the board in a filing on April 30th, one week before the bond vote.

Regardless of their status with the IRS, all 501(c)(3) groups that engage in the political process must abide by the laws of the state in which they operate. The organization’s board of directors is responsible for compliance.

The Forgotten Taxpayers PAC calls on the Friends of Chariho to drop the charade since they are operating as a political action committee and aligning their activities with the school district. The removal of Purcell as a board member is just a fig leaf of compliance to meet the standards set by the Rhode Island Ethics board. All Friends of Chariho donors over $200 should be immediately reported, and their operation as a charity should be immediately abandoned.

Failing this, the Friends of Chariho must meet the standards set for an organization that engages in independent expenditures. As outlined in state law, expenditures must be made without coordination. In addition, reports must be made within 24 hours for expenditures made within 30 days of an election.

“Rhode Island doesn’t need another organization that flaunts the laws while also continuing to demand that you, the taxpayer, pay more,” Johnson concluded.

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The Forgotten Taxpayers PAC is committed to its goal of leading a grassroots effort to champion and promote fiscal responsibility, keeping the taxpayers at the forefront of all decisions relative to town and school spending.

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