Until recently, those contributing to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s nonprofit were unable to cancel their monthly donations.
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That is, according to at least one Seattle man, Corey Koscielniak, who in May 2017 began contributing $10.48 per month to Clinton‘s nonprofit, Onward Together, but unsuccessfully tried to cancel his reoccurring payments in March of this year, The Seattle Times reported.
After months of giving, Koscielniak grew weary of the nonprofit’s lack of transparency. He never knew how his money was being spent.
One Seattle man’s quest to cancel his $10.48 monthly donation to Hillary Clinton’s nonprofit gave him a brush with the opaque world of nonprofit, quasi-political organizations that disclose little about their operations. https://t.co/megG9hL52E pic.twitter.com/V76aEKRk63
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) April 28, 2018
“I don’t expect [transparency] from anyone, corporation or not,” he told the Times. “But what surprised me is the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for other people and not be part of this larger industrial complex.”
Koscielniak filed a complaint with Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, claiming the nonprofit’s website “provides no ability to alter or cancel donations once the initial donation is received.” He wanted to stop giving to the organization because he “never received a receipt” for his contributions.
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Onward Together is classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(4) organization, which means it doesn’t have to publicly disclose incoming and outgoing monies. Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation for the watchdog group Common Cause, called 501(c)(4) nonprofits “classic dark-money groups.”
The 29-year-old progressive then tried via telephone to cancel his monthly payment:
“The person who answered my call (Kelly) said that she can cancel payment for me, and that they’ve received several callers expressing frustration with their process. She told me they will not put a contact # or address on their website due to security reasons. This feels both deceptive and unethical.”
But despite his efforts, Onward Together withdrew another $10.48 on April 17. Koscielniak didn’t seem convinced of the cancellation and told the Times he won’t know for sure until next month.
Nick Merrill, communications director for Clinton, said the nonprofit has since added a feature on its website allowing donors to halt their contributions if they so choose.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
“We have rectified it,” he said, “but we will make sure this doesn’t happen again, with anybody, in the future.”
The Clinton staffer went on to say Onward Together intends to reach out to Ferguson and ensured Koscielniak’s reoccurring donation has been canceled.
This is not, however, the only controversy Clinton’s nonprofit is facing. The Democratic Party — particularly the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — is seeing some backlash over the fact that it is paying Onward Together millions of dollars for access to Clinton’s mailing lists and voter data.
So the DNC & DCCC are paying millions to use Clinton’s list? What’s especially aggravating about this is that on the URC the Clinton appointees kept pushing hard for Bernie to turn his lists over to the DNC for free saying “all candidates do it”. https://t.co/ag5hUfQAXy
— James J. Zogby (@jjz1600) April 25, 2018
This is not to be overlooked. Lists are used for fundraising. Now the dnc and dccc is PAYING onward together consultants for a list? The lengths folks will go to make a buck while sabatoging democracy. #GriftersGonnaGrift https://t.co/xiidt6UItP
— Nomiki Konst ??? (@NomikiKonst) April 25, 2018
News surrounding Onward Together came just as Clinton hosted the organization’s first event in Manhattan on Monday.