E-mails back up claim NPR refused money from conservative pranksters
NPR has released a series of e-mails to back up their claim that they refused to take a $5 million donation from a fake Muslim group created by conservative pranksters.
“The fraudulent organization represented in this video repeatedly pressed us to accept a $5 million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept,” Dana Davis Rehm, NPR’s senior vice president of marketing, communications and external relations, said in a statement following the release of a video by James O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas.”
The video had allegedly showed activists Shaughn Adeleye and Simon Templar posing as members of the fictional Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) and meeting with NPR Foundation President Ron Schiller and NPR Senior Director of Institutional Giving Betsey Liley.
The conservative website The Daily Caller claimed that a subsequent video and e-mails released by O’Keefe’s group indicated that NPR executives were closer to excepting the money than had previously been thought.
Liley had allegedly told the fake group that “awaiting a draft of a gift agreement from our legal counsel and will share it when I have it.”
But NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher told Talking Points Memo that the agreement “never got beyond the internal drafting stage – and was never sent. Period.”
E-mails obtained by Talking Points Memo seem to back up that claim.
In a March 3 e-mail sent to NPR CEO Vivan Schiller, Liley indicated that MEAC was hesitating to provide the legal information necessary for a large donation.
“He says they ARE a 501c3. And then he added… ‘I think’. I told him we would need to know for sure AND we would need to look at the 990 as we do for any first time donor,” she wrote regarding a conversation with one MEAC represntative.
Joyce Slocum, NPR’s General Counsel and Sr. Vice President wrote to MEAC the next day that NPR was unable to find any record of them being a 501c3 organization.
“I’m sure you will understand that we need to verify certain information with respect to any organization that proposes to make a significant gift to NPR,” Slocum wrote. “Unfortunately, we have not been able to locate the necessary information about the Muslim Education Action Center, and so we need to ask that you provide it.”