News & Politics

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, Globetrotting With Soros Organizations, Fails to Report Trips

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner (AP Photo/Jim Salter)

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, the controversial prosecutor who has selectively enforced the laws she prefers, has become the darling of the progressive left. She was elected in 2016 as a reform candidate after the Black Lives Matter movement was born in the wake of the Ferguson riots. Now, an explosive new report says Kim Gardner has taken many lavish trips on the dime of Soros-backed organizations, and may have broken the law by not reporting them.

KMOV4 News 4 reports:

A News 4 investigation has found that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has been flying all around the country and the globe with organizations who want to reform the criminal justice system.

However, it appears she has violated the law, by not reporting the trips.

Sources tell News 4 Gardner is a frequent flyer. At times during her tenure as prosecutor, sources say, she has often been gone from her office a couple of times every month, jetting around on someone else’s dime.

Social media snaps show Gardner posing for pictures in Portugal, listening to conversations in New Haven, Connecticut, smiling with other prosecutors in Houston and linking arms in Selma, Alabama.

They are trips she apparently took in 2018 and 2019, but did not disclose on travel reports, as required by law.

Sources tell News 4 that some of the trips were paid for in full, or in part, by an organization called Fair and Just Prosecution, a group that professes to support progressive prosecutors. The organization has repeatedly applauded many of Gardner’s actions, including the charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey for brandishing guns in the Central West End last month.

The group is also supporting outspoken prosecutors such as Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore, who has also recently responded to criticism about her travel, and acknowledged she took a number of trips, saying they were properly reported.

St. Louis law requires all public officials to report their travel, and who paid for it. Missouri state law also may apply. KMOV News 4 reports that Gardner’s travel has been “prolific and problematic,” saying that she often can’t be reached to conduct official business while traveling.

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Gardner is the prosecutor who is framing the McCloskey family after they brandished guns in defense of their home after protesters broke into their property and refused to leave. PJ Media’s Bryan Preston reported last week:

Monday night, Mark McCloskey appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show and hinted that “revelations” about his case would soon come out. He and his wife, Patricia, face felony charges for using firearms — without firing a shot — to defend their home from protesters in St. Louis in late June. Missouri has a broad Castle Doctrine, but Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has ignored that in announcing Class D felony charges against them.

Earlier on Monday, I took a look at the case against them and was surprised to learn that both of their guns were likely not capable of being fired at the time of the incident. Mrs. McCloskey’s handgun was described as a “prop” they had used in a trial (they’re both attorneys). Mr. McCloskey’s rifle was reportedly not loaded during the confrontation and there was no ammunition found in their home.

Fair and Just Prosecution says at their website:

A Time for Transformation

FJP is dedicated to shrinking the footprint of the justice system, ending mass incarceration, supporting community-led policing reform, and advancing policies that promote racial equity. Learn more about our work in this critical moment by reading our Blueprint for Police Accountability and Reform and hear from the inspiring DAs we work with about their new vision for our justice system. To learn more about how FJP is supporting prosecutors in responding to COVID-19, read our statement signed by 35 elected prosecutors.

Reimagining Prosecution

FJP works to reimagine the role of the prosecutor, shrink the justice system, and build fairer and safer communities. Learn more about our work by exploring our website, reviewing the “21 Principles for the 21st Century Prosecutor,” and reading about our work in this New York Times op-ed.

FJP lists no IRS 990 forms on its website, and a search at the IRS website yields no results. However, Kim Gardner filed reports in 2017 listing travel paid for by FJP. Again from KMOV News 4:

In 2017, Kim Gardner reported that Fair and Just Prosecution paid for trips to New York, Chicago, Seattle and Philadelphia. That year, she also filled out a city form that didn’t mention those trips, but did disclose trips to Cleveland, Washington DC and Atlanta.

According to a public information request, she did not disclose any trips at all in 2018 or 2019. To that end, it’s so far been unclear just how many trips she’s been on. It is also not known who went with her.

Turns out, FJP is yet another in project of The Tides Foundation, a far-left non-profit that pioneered the practice of fiscal sponsorship to allow newer organizations to temporarily “borrow” the non-profit status of Tides:

Donate

FJP is proud and grateful to partner with the Double Up Drive. Double Up Drive was born of the belief that public giving influences greater generosity and more impactful donations. Learn more and donate here.

FJP is a sponsored project of the Tides Center (EIN 94-3213100), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Click here to make your one time or recurring donation.

I covered Tides extensively in my book, Behind the Curtain. The website Left Exposed describes Tides:

Tides Foundation is a San Francisco, California-based 501(c)(3) non-profit social change corporation founded June 4, 1976. Tides is largely credited with pioneering anonymous “Dark Money” transactions through donor advised funds for politically liberal and progressive organizations in the areas of the environment, health care, labor issues, immigrant rights, gay rights, women’s rights, and activism against gun rights, industrial development and corporations. Tides Foundation’s skill at keeping donors anonymous and grant recipients secret became a public issue, bringing IRS attention and measures to separate its most innovative program from its normal grant-making operation.

Tides, founded by Drummond Pike, pioneered the practice of donor-directed funding, in which a donor can remain anonymous by making a donation to a 501c3, and then directing where that money should be spent, in the form of grants to radical progressive causes and organizations. And, of course, Tides receives innumerable donations and grants from the Open Society Foundation, founded and funded by George Soros. It’s the ultimate dark money scheme.

KMOV News 4’s report includes this nugget:

A lot of the ideas presented during the trips, according to sources, seemed like good ones, but they expressed frustrations that the programs weren’t implemented upon Gardner’s return.

News 4 asked for information from Kim Gardner’s office, including a full accounting of trips, and her response to the claims. News 4 received the following statement:

Since shortly after her election, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has been an active member in Fair and Just Prosecution’s network of progressive prosecutors. She was invited to participate because of her beliefs, values, and goals. Those goals are in line with FJP’s priorities and the same as policies the Circuit Attorney has promised to deliver for St. Louis since day one. The suggestion that there is any quid pro quo involved here is patently absurd. By working with FJP, she has access to a network of prosecutors who are also implementing change in their communities across the country, prosecutors who are working to create a fairer, more equitable justice system and move beyond the failed policies of the past that created our mass incarceration crisis. Ms. Gardner has been able to share ideas and strategies, learn new approaches, and benefit from the experience and expertise of others. Her work with FJP has benefitted the office and, by extension, the people of St. Louis.

Circuit Attorney Gardner refuses to apologize for seeking reasonably opportunities to further her knowledge and access prosecutors from throughout the nation for best practice. The suggestion that she would be persuaded to follow an alternative that is not focused on addressing the root causes of crime for a few plane tickets and hotel rooms is insulting.

The Circuit Attorney is confident that the public will see through this veiled attempt to disparage her and her efforts to continue to change our criminal justice system to be more just and fair.

FJP responded to KMOV News 4’s request for comment, saying that only a tiny fraction of their funding comes from George Soros. Since the 990s are not available, we’ll just have to take their word for it.

This is the kind of thing that sunshine laws are intended to address. It is vital to the public interest that we know who is influencing our elected officials. The professional radical left has made obfuscating these influences an art form. Now, it might have landed Kim Gardner in some hot water with the State of Missouri.

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, and on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds.

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