Activists say Jeb’s foundation a “dating service” for corps seeking education dollarsby John Kennedy | October 15th, 2013
As former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush prepared to open his nonprofit’s annual education summit, a New Mexico advocacy organization is calling for federal officials to investigate spending by his Foundation for Excellence in Education.
The foundation’s two-day summit, which begins Thursday in Boston,features lawmakers and education officials from several states, including Florida’s Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg, R-Trinity. But Progress Now New Mexico sent a complaint to the IRS asking it to look into the nonprofit foundation’s spending on travel, hotel and other expenses for government officials.
Progress Now maintains that IRS regulations prohibit nonprofits from paying officials or using tax-exempt money to benefit private companies. Sponsors of Bush’s annual summit have included Charter Schools USA, Pearson, the big testing firm that ran Florida’s FCAT, and other for-profit education interests.
“This tax-exempt organization is serving as a dating service for corporations selling educational products — including virtual schools — to school chiefs responsible for making policies and cutting the checks,” said Patrick Davis of Progress Now.
Foundation spokeswoman Jaryn Emhof dismissed the complaint.
“We fully comply with IRS rules when providing policy research and expertise and will continue to do so,” Emhof said. “This is nothing more than a politically motivated complaint by opponents of education reform.”
She added, “It’s not surprising that Progress Now New Mexico, a partisan organization that has a history of opposing education reforms that put students first, would attack efforts to improve the quality of education for children across America.