I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Charity under investigation in NM is at center of brewing campaign money scandal in Virginia
Virginia’s Republican governor and several state lawmakers received campaign contributions from the former director of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association last year. Then, at the request of the charity’s lobbyists, they enacted a law this year that exempts veterans charities from state registration requirements.
Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell announced Monday that he intends to turn over to a legitimate veterans charity a $5,000 campaign contribution from the charity’s former director, Bobby Thompson.
McDonnell signed a new law this year that exempts veterans charities like Navy Vets from the state’s annual charity registration requirements. The bill was introduced by state Senator Patricia Ticer, at the request of Navy Veterans Association lobbyists, according to the Roanoke Times and Washington Post.
Ticer had received $1,000 from Thompson.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II received $55,000 from Thompson. Thompson was Cuccinelli’s second-largest campaign donor, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
But Cuccinelli has not responded to calls that he give away the money from Thompson.
The U.S. Navy Veterans Association is under investigation in New Mexico, Missouri and Florida, following an investigation by the St. Petersburg Times revealing that 84 of 85 national and state directors listed in the charity’s tax filings and other records appear not to exist.
IRS documents list Howard Bonifacio as head of the charity’s New Mexico chapter, and his address as 388 Boutz Road in Las Cruces.
But that address is an empty field, Attorney General’s Office investigators found.
AG officials could find no evidence in tax records or phone books that Bonifacio, or another New Mexico chapter official, Don Archer of Las Cruces, exist.
New Mexico Assistant AG Elizabeth Korsmo ordered the charity to stop fund-raising in New Mexico, last month.
The charity’s New Mexico chapter is listed as donating $132,506 in food, shelter, clothing, direct cash assistance and medical and dental care to indigent veterans and families in New Mexico, according to IRS records obtained by The Independent. However, no details are listed describing where exactly the money and donations were spent, or what hospitals or health clinics were paid.
Thompson has not been charged with any crimes.