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Monday, October 19, 2015

UPDATE: Susan Morgan Corroborates CJSR Claim About FIL-AM Association


On September 28, 2015, CJ's Street Report published an article claiming that the Filipino-American (FIL-AM) Association of Pensacola, Inc., may have appeared to have violated Internal Revenue Service regulations by "directly or indirectly, participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office."

Moreover, while it was perfectly legal for board members and officers of FIL-AM to donate directly to Sheriff Morgan's political campaigns, FIL-AM had actually "lent" its own "Karaoke Night" and the use of its owned building to another Filipino-American organization to raise funds for Sheriff Morgan's re-election campaign in September 2015.

And, the Filipino-American Association of Pensacola had been the recipient of $7,000 in donations from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF) in 2014.  This gives rise to the suspicious appearance of a scheme in which organizations who provide political support to Sheriff Morgan are rewarded with charitable donations from the LETF.

Now we know that the Filipino-American Association has been engaged in helping raise funds for Republican candidates since at least 2010, and Mrs. Susan Morgan, the Sheriff's wife, corroborated this relationship between the association and Republican candidates in a Pensacola News Journal article published in December 2012.

Thus, the Filipino-American Association has probably been engaged, at least indirectly, in partisan party politics since at least 2010 and the 2015 event for Sheriff Morgan actually appears to be the continuation of this FIL-AM board policy.

Updated Evidence

On June 25, 2010, on page 39 of the Weekender section of the Pensacola News Journal, there was this announcement:  "Filipino American Republican Club:  6:30 p.m. Saturday.  The Filipino American Republican Club will have a karaoke fundraiser featuring contestants who are local Republican candidates.  The master of ceremonies is Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan.  Tickets:  $20.  Fil-Am Community Center, 234 W. Oakfield Road.  458-0719."

As stated in the earlier CJ's Street Report article, the Filipino-American Association explicitly claimed on its Form 990 that it is required to file with the Internal Revenue Service that it was not engaged in any political activity, and, that the karaoke night was one of their key fundraising events.

Now, they could argue that they may have been a 501(c)(4) organization and not covered by the 501(c)(3) organization regulation.  But, on their actual Form 990 filed in 2011 (the first year available from websites that track charitable donations), there is no status checked.

On Block 46 of the 2011 filing, the IRS asked, "Did the organization engage, directly or indirectly, in political campaign activities on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office?"  The FIL-AM Association treasurer checked the block, "No."

Mrs. Susan Morgan, wife of Sheriff David Morgan, had her email attacking George Touart, then the interim Escambia County administrator, quoted and summarized on pages 1A and 6A of the Pensacola News Journal on December 6, 2012.  According to the front page PNJ article, "Sheriff's wife targets Touart," "She also accuses him of leaving a campaign event at a Filipino-American club during his run in 2010 against County Commissioner Gene Valentino, allegedly telling Morgan, 'I didn't know these people existed.'"

Thus, Mrs. Morgan has corroborated the earlier PNJ Weekender announcement that the June or July event at the Filipino-American Association of Pensacola, Inc. club was a campaign event specifically held against then County Commissioner Valentino who lost his re-election bid.  That clearly suggests that FIL-AM was involved at least "indirectly" in political campaign activity "on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office."

Thus, it is possible that the declarations to the Internal Revenue Service may not have been totally accurate.

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