Politics

6 Weird Facts About Vanessa Kerry’s Tax-Funded Non-Profit

Reuters/John Schults

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Ethan Barton Managing Editor

Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter runs a Department of State-funded nonprofit that paid her primary employer $1.3 million, faced a “significant deficiency” in an audit of its books and has a nonexistent address, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found.

The State Department has funneled more than $9 million to Dr. Vanessa Kerry’s nonprofit – called Seed Global Health – through Peace Corps contracts, TheDCNF previously reported. Those contracts tasked Seed to carry out the Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) – a program Kerry created in conjunction with officials from both agencies.

TheDCNF has reported numerous details about how Seed came to be a taxpayers-funded organization with the daughter of America’s chief international diplomat at the helm:

  • John Kerry announced a State Department-funded expansion of GHSP and boasted about the partnership between his daughter’s nonprofit and the Peace Corps, even though Seed failed to meet the original contract’s terms;
  • Seed has never had to compete with other nonprofits for the State Department funding;
  • Seed was given a bonus, even after it didn’t meet contractual retirements;
  • Seed was founded at Kerry’s palatial Boston mansion; and,
  • Discrepancies and contradictions in federal and state government documents obscure who paid Vanessa Kerry’s salary and how much she earned.

And tax forms and other official records show additional oddities.

1. Seed Paid Kerry’s Primary Employer Nearly $1.3 Million Or More

Seed paid Massachusetts General Hospital – Kerry’s primary employer, where she works as a physician – nearly $1.3 million from 2013 to 2015 for “contracted services,” tax forms submitted to Massachusetts show. Of that, a nearly $228,000 payment was not reported to the federal government in 2013.

Seeds tax forms do not indicate that Seed’s CEO – Kerry – was primarily employed by the hospital. They also do not explain the nature of those “contracted services.”

Federal tax forms show Kerry was paid $140,080 in 2014 and 2015 by “related organizations,” but Seed didn’t complete a section on its state documents that would have disclosed her benefactors.

Seed shared office space with Massachusetts General Hospital at least from 2012 to 2016, tax documents show, but little to none of the $1.3 million went to rent. Seed only paid $40,000 for rent form 2013 to 2015, according to audits.

The Peace Corps called Massachusetts General Seed’s “flagship partner” in one draft document obtained by TheDCNF.

2. Seed’s Had Three Different Financial Officers In Two Years

Kerry’s nonprofit recently hired its third financial manager since 2014. Jennifer Goldsmith – who had been with Seed since 2012 was replaced by Michelle Surette in May 2014, according to their LinkedIn profiles. Surrette was then replaced by Edward Thomas.

It’s unclear why the two previous financial managers left. It’s also worth noting that each replacement was given a different title from their predecessor.

Also, Goldsmith was listed on the 2015 tax form, even though she left Seed five months before that fiscal year began.

Goldsmith’s salary dropped from nearly $103,000 to under $47,000 from 2013 to 2015, which includes annual decreases, state tax forms show. They also indicated that she was still working 40 hours per week.

3. Auditors Found Seed Had A ‘Significant Deficiency’

Seed didn’t turn in a federal document by its due date because of employee turnover, which the nonprofit’s auditors called a “significant deficiency.”

“Due to turnover in the finance department, the Data Collection Form was filed late,” a 2014 audit said.

The form was required as part of its government contracts. It’s unclear when it was ultimately submitted.

It’s appears Goldsmith’s departure caused the deficiency, as she was the only person listed on the website with a finance-related title who left during the audit’s time frame.

4. It Appears Seed’s Application For Tax-Exempt Status Was Approved In Four Months

An Internal Revenue Service letter signed by the now-infamous Lois Lerner granted Seed its federal tax exempt status December 27, 2011. That letter also notes that Seed’s tax exemption went into effect August 22, 2011, which suggests that’s when Seed applied for nonprofit status.

A state document also shows Massachusetts received Seed’s application the same day. So Seed was approved for federal tax exemption in four months. Approval typically takes between two and 12 months, according to a nonprofit advocacy group.

This was also approved at the height of the Tea Party targeting scandal, which ultimately led to Lerner’s retirement.

5. Seed Didn’t Report A Big Chunk Of Revenue

Seed was founded with a January-December fiscal year in 2011. The nonprofit changed this to mirror Congress’ October-September fiscal year. More than one-quarter of Seed’s 2016 budget comes from federal funding, according to Seed

Seed was founded with only $5,000, tax forms show. Vanessa Kerry was soon thereafter promised government funding and her nonprofit leveraged more than $372,000 in private funds from January to September 2012.

Seed signed its first State Department-funded award with Peace Corps that month for $2 million, which included an immediate $500,000. That revenue was oddly included on its 2013, rather than 2012, tax forms.

6. Seed’s Address Doesn’t Exist

The address listed on Seed’s website doesn’t exist, and the embedded map on the page shows a different location.

Seed was founded in John Kerry’s Boston home and later moved into Massachusetts General office space. Seed recently updated its website to show that it’s now located at “20 Ashburton St.”

It appears, however, that Seed’s address is actually 20 Ashburton Pl. Google searches only return results for that street name. Additionally, a street view of the Google Map embedded on Seed’s website shows a sign that calls the road “Pl.”

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