Just How Close Was NPR to Taking That $5M?

Close, says Daily Caller; not so close, says Talking Points Memo
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2011 10:02 AM CST
Just How Close Was NPR to Taking That $5M?
James O'Keefe makes a statement after leaving the federal courthouse in New Orleans, Wednesday, May 26, 2010.   (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

NPR may have been embarrassed by its ex-fundraiser’s comments on the Tea Party—but at least it refused to accept the $5 million offered by phony donors, right? That original claim had been poked at by the Daily Caller, which yesterday said that emails showed NPR execs were "awaiting a draft of a gift agreement" from their legal counsel, indicating that they might have been closer to taking than they had admitted. But NPR rep Anna Christopher tells TPM the agreement "never got beyond the internal drafting stage—and was never sent. Period." She offers internal emails as evidence.

In one, then-CEO Vivian Schiller says the “donors” are acting strangely, and that she needs more info on their status. But the drama doesn't stop there. In a recording released yesterday, one of the "donors" asks an exec if she is "saying that NPR would be able to shield us from a government audit." The exec responds that she thinks “that is the case, especially if you were anonymous,” reports the Washington Post, which notes that keeping donors anonymous isn't illegal—the question, it writes, is how far NPR would go to keep a "potentially unsavory" donor's identity hidden. NPR last night released the following: "The statement ... regarding the possibility of making an anonymous gift that would remain invisible to tax authorities is factually inaccurate and not reflective of NPR's gift practices." (More NPR stories.)

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