Friday, February 14, 2014

BREAKING: Sean Noble Double-Uses Federal EIN To Help Hide FAIR Trust; How Koch Brothers' Money Made Its Mysterious Way Into Arizona Redistricting Fight

Pro Publica published a feature on Arizona political-consultant-turned-Koch Brothers-"wizard" Sean Noble today, shedding light on a mystery group involved in the ongoing Arizona redistricting battle. Arizona's Politics has also learned that the Noble/Koch money vehicle that is funding the redistricting fight listed an EIN identical to an older Noble Nucleus entity.

The non-profit investigative journalism powerhouse Pro Publica piece details Noble’s rise and fall with the billionaire Koch Brothers’ political powerhouse network (described as “Koch World” by Politico). In so doing, they used as an example how the Koch Brothers'-funded Center To Protect Patient Rights funneled $150,000 to a mysterious group that has been fighting the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission on behalf of Republican interests.

The Center’s involvement in a contentious Arizona redistricting fight was also not known – until now. It provided $150,000 to a group called FAIR Trust—described as the “Fair AZ Independent Redistrict” on the Center’s tax return—which hired lawyers to sue Arizona’s redistricting commission in April 2012 to challenge new legislative and congressional districts. The Trust, which also sent lawyers to commission meetings, has repeatedly refused to identify its backers.
“Without knowing who they were representing, you couldn’t really fairly evaluate what they were saying,” said Linda C. McNulty, a Democratic member of the commission. “They clearly were doing somebody’s bidding, but they wouldn’t say whose it was.”
David Cantelme, one of the lawyers who represents the Trust, said he couldn’t talk about who hired him and had no information about the grant from the Center.

Arizona's Politics wished to learn more about FAIR Trust, and ended up learning far more than Noble probably ever intended. The address for FAIR Trust listed on the CPPR 990 belongs to the Chandler home of well-established Republican campaign accountant and compliance consultant Hieu Tran. Tran generally uses her office address.

More interestingly, the EIN listed for FAIR Trust happens to belong to a different Arizona-based 501(c)(4) organization of which Noble is listed as the President. The 2011 990 for Free Enterprise America (signed by Noble and republished below) - which received individual contributions of more than $5 Million that year and then delivered the money to other conserative organizations - happens to sport the same EIN that Noble's CPPR listed for FAIR Trust.

There could be some innocent explanations for this duplicate use of a unique EIN. However, given that - as the Pro Publica article reiterates - Noble also has utilized three different entities all named "American Commitment" and uses the accountant's home address as the FAIR Trust address, it seems far more likely that it is a deliberate attempt to obfuscate.

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