December 30, 2002

FINANCIAL ISSUES at TomPaine.Com:

But liberals smelled a rat. Drug company Eli Lilly had long sought the clarification, and TomPaine.com, a left-wing Internet publication, promised $10,000 to whomever could conclusively document how the provision found its way into the bill. On December 12, TomPaine.com got its answer. “I did it,” House Majority Leader Dick Armey said on a CBS newscast. “I’m proud of it.”

Now Mr. Armey has asked TomPaine.com to send the reward to the Cornerstone Community School, a nonprofit private school in Washington for disadvantaged children. But the Web site is balking and has now issued a clarification. “What TomPaine.com is looking for is THE PERSON WHO *ASKED* ARMEY to ALLOW it to happen,” it says in characteristic feverishness, braying that “Public officials who work secret deals like this are cowards,” and that “democracy requires accountability.”

Since TomPaine.com brings up the subject of accountability, it’s worth noting that the organization has its own issues regarding ownership. According to its Web site and filings with the Internal Revenue Service, the publication is wholly bankrolled to the tune of $2 million by the Florence Fund, a tax-exempt organization whose purpose is “to invigorate public debate by helping public interest groups put their messages and work products before larger audiences or target audiences more deeply.” Of particular interest to the Florence Fund is “the role of money in politics.” But what’s the role of money in the organization itself?

In its initial tax filings with the IRS in 1999, the Florence Fund claimed over $6.25 million in pledged money.

Jeez, if I’d known they were that rich, I’d have claimed the ten grand for real! Though I guess Armey has a prior claim.