Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Where nonprofit, for-profit and super PAC met
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Where nonprofit, for-profit and super PAC met

Friday, Apr 6, 2018

* The Tribune published a long and meandering story today - which is really three or so stories in one that jump back and forth - about Dan Proft, Brian Timpone, John Tillman and others who were involved in one way or another with those ubiquitous Proft papers we’ve been discussing for months. Here’s part of the not-for-profit angle

Recently obtained documents and interviews show that an organization called Think Freely Media helped fund the operation that produced the [2016 article about a Liberty Principles PAC-backed statehouse candidate’s pitch to voters] for the East Central Reporter’s website. As a nonprofit, Think Freely is forbidden by federal law from engaging in politics, and it has described the articles it funded as news.

But State Board of Elections records also show a political committee, Liberty Principles, paid the same private company to publish the story in a print newspaper and mail it. That group, which state law says must spend its money on politicking, has labeled such content political ads. […]

Since 2015, thousands of articles have been published in more than two dozen print and online publications tied to Proft, who in addition to heading Liberty Principles has served as a [reported $100,000 annual] consultant to Think Freely Media. […]

[The Illinois Policy Institute’s John Tillman] also created Think Freely Media with the aim of touting the “benefits of limited government,” according to its IRS filing. In August 2015, the nonprofit began funding [Brian] Timpone’s Newsinator. Tax filings show that first round of cash amounted to $346,660. […]

“None of the content that was funded by TFM was political or electioneering in nature. To imply otherwise would be wrong,” [Think Freely Media’s president, Eric Tubbs] wrote.

But one group did say otherwise: Proft’s political committee, Liberty Principles. […]

The content complies with legal requirements for nonprofits and “TFM is not responsible for how a PAC uses it, characterizes it or otherwise mischaracterizes it as Ms. Svenson did,” Tubbs wrote in an email.

Essentially, if I’m reading this right, Tillman’s Think Freely paid for non-campaign stories run by Timpone’s Newsinator company. Newsinator paid for campaign-related stories. Proft, who has been a Think Freely consultant, then had his Liberty Principles PAC mail newspapers containing those one-sided Newsinator campaign stories to voters’ homes in races targeted by his PAC.

The papers have since been turned over to a new private company, Local Government Information, which is apparently controlled by Proft. Tipone’s Locality Lab now creates the content. The Tribune did not say whether Think Freely is currently involved.

Before the change, the operation appeared to be a cleverly intertwined web of a nonprofit social activist group, a for-profit business and a super PAC. The question, I suppose, is whether all the actors stayed strictly within their lanes back then and everybody remained independent and on the up and up. The Trib story doesn’t specifically answer either way.

* You may recall Think Freely from this February story

For example, in addition to his role as chief executive officer at the institute, Tillman is the board chairman and former president of Think Freely Media, another small-government nonprofit that once shared office space with the institute and received hundreds of thousands of dollars from it in grant money.

In 2015, Think Freely Media made a $49,400, no-interest loan to a for-profit data and marketing company called Crowdskout. That came a few months after the nonprofit loaned Crowdskout $60,000 plus interest. At the time, Tillman had “majority unit control” of the entity that owned Crowdskout, according to a financial audit of Think Freely Media.

Experts say such transactions raise ethical questions and could violate the federal tax code for nonprofits. A zero-interest loan would benefit the for-profit company at the expense of the nonprofit. […]

“Obviously, these are all fully disclosed transactions, all at fair market value as they should be,” Tillman wrote. “And yes, people and companies are paid for providing services. When I have had a role with an organization, that relationship must be properly disclosed to the board and I recused myself regarding any decisions made.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Annonin' - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:01 pm:

    It was fun to see the line that indicates Proft used the Tribbies direct mail unit to send the papers out.
    Surprised to see Katrina and Kassamoron no quoted on how wonderful these little newsoids are to hav around.

  2. - Profteering - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:04 pm:

    Did Putan base his operations on Proft or vice versa?

  3. - Honeybear - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:25 pm:

    Perfidy, perfidy,perfidy

    Eventually the truth gets out

  4. - Hamilton - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 12:52 pm:

    I respect the reporting here and more attention needs to be given to the relationship between not-for-profits (specifically 501c3s, 501c4s) for-profits, and various forms of PACs or 527s. That said, if the suggestion is that Proft is operating outside the law, then the Trib is chasing a something not all that remarkable. These practices and types of institutional relationships are common across the not-for-profit sector, liberal and conservative, and Tillman/Proft seem to be using common legal strategies to navigate them for their purpose.

    Again, highlighting the reality is an important topic for the press, but there isn’t anything compellingly unique here to Proft and friends.

  5. - anonymous - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 1:08 pm:

    == but there isn’t anything compellingly unique here to Proft and friends. ==

  6. - In Praise Of Long And Meandering - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 1:22 pm:

    Great piece, I think. If it seems long and meandering, that’s because these folks appear to have used every trick in the book to find loopholes and skirt the spirit, if not the letter, of the law. You have to go down rabbit holes if you want to catch a rabbit.

    End of day, rich Republicans and their henchmen appear to have gotten in bed with the brainchild behind Journatic, which was a proven purveyor of fake news–even traditional media, which should have known better, fled when the truth came out about that outfit.

    We need more stories like this, especially now.

  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 1:24 pm:

    === If it seems long and meandering, that’s because these folks appear to have used every trick===

    That’s an excuse, not a reason.

  8. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 1:38 pm:

    Woof, that’s a lot of wandering around the barn. This desperately needs a seasoned editor to sharpen and focus.

    Any left in troncslyvania? Or did they all get canned to make room for the Audience Engagement Studio (is that like, photos for wedding announcements?) and the Quick Response Team (as opposed to the Lazy Procrastinator Unit?).

    Sounds like tronc management these days is thinking out of the box to provide synergy to buy in to core competency and shift paradigm to empower vertical integration.

    Translation: continuing to gut the newsroom.

  9. - Hamilton - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 3:34 pm:

    @anonymous 1:08 show your work, please; I might be missing something. Because even if I disagree with the purpose of their work, I do, even if I don’t like it, I don’t - it doesn’t make it unique or illegal. What should surprise us is that this approach is legal and fair play and that it is so common. That’s where the reporting is better focused.

  10. - anonymouss - Friday, Apr 6, 18 @ 3:56 pm:

    Don’t worry, I think your answer is coming. With every report, more is revealed. The stench is terrible.

TrackBack URI

Post your comment... And please take a half second to come up with a nickname. It makes following the posts easier for everyone... Thanks

In other words, do your best to be civilized and smart.

* Caption contest!
* Federal rules protecting net neutrality have expired! Support House Bill 4819
* Harmon says he has votes in Senate for gun shop licensing override, but future still unsure
* It's just a bill
* Rauner makes "official" trade show announcement seven months after it was announced
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Biss says he wants more details about Pritzker's progressive tax plan, Rauner campaign agrees
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Why was Travis Reinking allowed to keep his guns?
* Comptroller: State racked up "two decades worth of late payment interest penalties in just over two years"
* Madigan says he hasn't made up his mind on legalizing marijuana
* Illinois Legislators: Make Health Coverage Fair by Supporting HB 4146
* Rauner's new website slams Pritzker-Madigan "corruption"
* Today's must-listen: Madigan and lone chairmanship "No" vote together on Joravsky's show
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...









* McHenry County libraries receive grants from Je.....
* Private Lenders Consider Suing State..
* Madigan Re-elected as Head of Democrat Party in.....
* The Carry Out 4-24-18: “I believe that Hester b.....
* The election weirdness is just beginning - MyWe.....

* On Basketball: And now, Wade decides if this was the end
* That's a heavy lift: Rhino at Illinois zoo undergoes CT scan
* Man who disarmed Waffle House shooter hailed by lawmakers
* Will County officials to use 50 percent renewable power
* Court bars winner of 2017 mayoral election from office
* Autopsies unclear on cause of mother's and daughter's deaths
* No gun-licensing override, deadline for action is Wednesday
* The Latest: Suspect faces new charges in shooting
* Court to rule on Illinois village's right-to-work ordinance
* The Latest: Colorado woman urged FBI to 'hold on' to suspect

* Gun dealer licensing veto override vote could happen today
* Appeals court to rule on lawsuit over right-to-work ordinance
* Senate OKs bill to nearly double home care workers' pay
* 4th death reported in Illinois linked to synthetic marijuana
* Google aims at Illinois' privacy law after Facebook lobbying failed
* Illinois Lottery sells tickets for instant games after top prizes are gone
* Michael Madigan wins re-election as Democratic Party leader
* Champaign-area bus company faces harassment lawsuit
* Illinois' late fees skyrocket over past 3 years
* State paying bills, but not late-payment interest

* From 'Mayochup' to potential mayhem: Kraft Heinz and social media
* Sinclair agrees to sell 23 TV stations as part of Tribune deal
* Sinclair agrees to sell WGN-TV—but would still control it
* Robert Malott, CEO who wrestled with Boesky's crimes and Continental's downfall, dies at 91

* Officer wounded while responding to domestic battery in Woodlawn
* Massage therapist accuses Stan Lee of sexual misconduct at South Loop hotel
* Dear Abby: Sweetheart, come look at Internet porn with me
* With Avisail Garcia on the DL, Daniel Palka prepares to make White Sox debut
* Horoscope for April 25, 2018
* 2 men shot in Chicago Lawn
* Man, 45, critically wounded in Lawndale shooting
* Police: Man shot to death in Austin
* Bears GM Pace has been around for 3 seasons but doesn’t have much to show for it
* Ex-Cubs manager Baker says he would represent Giants if elected to Hall of Fame

* Supreme Court's last argument is over Trump travel ban
* 2-year-old boy shot in Joliet: police
* 1 dead, at least 10 wounded in Chicago shootings since noon Tuesday
* For Bears to nail this draft, they must find a high-quality player at the top of Round 2
* First lady steps into spotlight for state visit with France
* Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ pace Cubs to 10-3 victory over Indians
* Cubs pitcher Tyler Chatwood trying to find his groove on the mound
* Parolee who escaped custody on South Side arrested in Glenview
* Federal judge orders Trump administration to continue DACA program and accept new applicants
* With Avisail Garcia on 10-day DL, White Sox call up Daniel Palka

» April 24, 2018 - Full Show
» Proposal To Get Pre-Trial Detainees A Chance To Vote From Jail Passes IL House
» Getting Books To Illinois Prisons; Virtual Medical Interpreters; Chicago’s Gang Database
» Illinois Pushes For State Net Neutrality Rules After Federal Rules Expire
» Prince Heirs Sue Illinois Hospital Over Care During Overdose
» Immigrants Shine In New CPS Varsity Sport
» State Legislature Considers Tougher Penalties on Texting While Driving
» April 20, 2018 - Full Show
» April 23, 2018 - Full Show
» Madigan Elected For 6th Term As Democratic Party Chairman

* Gun dealer licensing veto override vote could happen today
* Our View: Budgets should include estimates of late payment interest penalties
* Guest View: Illinois’ 4 pillars of bad budgeting
* Byron York: Is 'can't prove untrue' the new standard in Trump probe?
* Marc Thiessen: Veterans deserve better
* Catherine Rampell: Tax cuts were supposed to save the GOP from Trump. Oops.
* Appeals court to rule on lawsuit over right-to-work ordinance
* Senate OKs bill to nearly double home care workers' pay
* 4th death reported in Illinois linked to synthetic marijuana
* Google aims at Illinois' privacy law after Facebook lobbying failed

* Oakwood launches community center plans
* Phyllis Jean Borgsmiller
* Norma Ruth Faro
* Mildred J. “Millie” Kahre
* Keith O’Neil Ginn
* Winning streaks
* Rodgers returns to B-N for Red Cross event
* Ahead of the curve: Students in the CEO Program show off their businesses
* First phase of Main Street Landing, fireworks ordinance on council agenda
* Davenport unveils neighborhood revitalization goals

* More than 70 nations hold talks on terror financing in Paris
* Tourists enjoy final day at beach before Boracay closure
* On Basketball: And now, Wade decides if this was the end
* Warriors advance looking to build off strong first round
* Outrage in China over pressure on student to stop activism

* Bike Bald's Spin-a-thon/Kids Fest to have ...
* Correction: US-House-Democrats-Leadership ...
* Two Primary Races You Might Have Missed
* 9 TV characters who were recast... and the...
* House's Steny Hoyer takes a last shot at t...
* HF student's work to be displayed in US Ca...
* Indian-American Democrat looks to win key ...
* Alzheimer's a public health, not aging, issue
* Students push for gun control at packed Gl...
* Jared Kushner's firm 'under investigation'...

* Durbin praises FDA's new measures cracking......
* E-Cigarette Sting Operation Prompts Warnin......
* FDA Cracks Down On Juul E-Cigarettes Popul......
* E-Cigarette Sting Operation Prompts US War......
* A tough re-election climate tests the chum......

* Tammy Duckworth and Working Moms Like Mine...
* The Senate celebrates Sen. Tammy Duckworth......
* Editorial: Up to the task...
* I'm a legislator and a mom. Tammy Duckwort......
* Tammy Duckworth is uniquely privileged, bu......

* Apprenticeships
* ‘Reefer Madness’-type rhetoric bound to swarm over Ill.; will Lege ignore it?
* Martysaurus Rex: A Creative Life More Important Than Football
* Piece's TV
* The [Wednesday] Papers
* Woman Missing From Buena Park
* Online Learning Shouldn’t Be ‘Less Than’
* Florida’s push for online courses benefits all, including STEM students
* Universities must expand reach to stay competitive
* Class Central Learner Survey (2017): MOOC Users Highly Educated, Have Experienced Career Benefits

* IEMA Highlights Role of Volunteers in Disasters
* Governor Rauner activates State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield
* February Flooding Information
* IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather
* Governor issues state disaster proclamation for flooding in Iroquois, Kankakee, Vermilion Counties

* The OnePlus 6 is launching on May 16
* 10 startups busy saving the planet while you can’t even separate your waste
* Opera Touch is a new Android browser tailored for one-handed use
* OnePlus 6 will be launched in India on May 17, just next day after global unveil
* Opera now lets you beam content from your phone to your desktop
* Artificial intelligence will be worth $1.2 trillion to the enterprise in 2018
* Opera Touch is a new one-handed browser for Android (and soon iOS)

* Mariners shut out White Sox, rubber match Wednesday vs King Felix
* White Sox Minor League Update: April 24, 2018
* Mariners shutout White Sox, rubber match Wednesday vs King Felix
* Renteria tossed arguing called third strike
* Relievers keep M's in check, but White Sox fall
* Renteria tossed arguing called third strike
* Renteria tossed arguing called third strike

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller