Discovery of potential NPR money from Soros before 2010 raises questions about NPR’s anonymous donors

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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There’s no question National Public Radio, like most other nonprofit organizations, can legally hide its donors from the public – or, in politically correct terms, keep them anonymous. But, the question critics are asking is, when NPR is getting taxpayer money, should it be allowed to hide certain donors’ identities from the public?

Though the only proof at this time that left-wing billionaire George Soros has made more donations to NPR than the $1.8 million he gave last October is new audio conservative James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas published Thursday morning, NPR has received large anonymous donations throughout the years. According to filings it has published on its own website, NPR has received millions of dollars from undisclosed sources throughout the years.

In its 2008 fiscal year, NPR accepted one anonymous donation more than $1 million, one between $100,000 and $499,999, one between $50,000 and $99,999, three between $25,000 and $49,999, eight between $10,000 and $24,999 and four between $5,000 and $9,999.

In 2007, NPR took in two anonymous donations between $100,000 and $499,999, one between $50,000 and $99,999, two between $25,000 and $49,999, six between $10,000 and $24,999 and 10 between $5,000 and $9,999.

In 2006, NPR received one anonymous donation totaling more than $500,000, one between $50,000 and $99,999, three between $25,000 and $49,999, eight between $10,000 and $24,999 and six between $5,000 and $9,999.

Between 1993 and 2005, NPR has accepted one anonymous donation of more than $5,000,000, one anonymous donation between $500,000 and $999,999, two anonymous donations between $100,000 and $249,999, one between $50,000 and $99,999, two between $25,000 and $49,999, 10 between $5,000 and $24,999.

Congressman Doug Lamborn, Colorado Republican, told TheDC he asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last December to audit NPR’s finances. “You always want more transparency rather than less transparency,” Lamborn said in a phone interview. “I’m not an expert on whether what they were going to do was a violation of the law, but it is troubling because you always want transparency.”

His office’s press release notes that the last time the GAO audited NPR’s financial records was in 1983.

“It is imperative that an accurate and complete snapshot of CPB’s use of taxpayer funding be available to lawmakers and the public,” Lamborn wrote to the Comptroller of the GAO. “Unfortunately, the charts, figures, statistics and documents posted on these entities’ websites—and often cited in the news media—do not sufficiently account for the complicated revenue streams between and within these entities. Efforts by Congressional staff, including the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, to contact CPB and NPR for clarification in this regard have been frustrating and limited in success.”

Brent Bozell, the president of the Media Research Center, told The Daily Caller that “there’s nothing illegal or unethical about George Soros exercising his right to make a contribution to NPR. This is censorship on the part of the right because they don’t like him and they’re making a stink out of it.”

Bozell said it isn’t a legal question – it’s an ethical question. “You’re talking about a news broadcasting operation – a public news broadcasting operation,” he said in a phone interview. “When someone as strident a left-wing agenda is pouring money into it, the public deserves to know that he’s doing it. Whether he wants anonymous, the public has a right to know – the public owns NPR, supposedly.”

NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher did not respond to the many requests TheDC made for comment.