Dear Activists, Supporters, and Friends;
We wanted to take a moment to address the recent publication of an article by ProPublica as it relates to the organizational practices and protocols.
First, we want to explain why we chose to participate with the publication to begin with. ProPublica first approached TPUSA and explained their area of interest. We felt confident TPUSA had not committed any misconduct and chose to operate transparently. We understood that the article would likely be negative, but we had nothing to hide. Most of the information was publicly available as part of a nonprofits customary financial filings, and we chose to have our voice and comments present in the article.
The main assertions center upon former TPUSA board member and first believer in TPUSA, Bill Montgomery. Sadly, Bill passed away shortly after the article published. He was 80-years-old at the time and had been retired from any involvement with TPUSA since early in 2019 (a decision that was made in 2018). Charlie and the TPUSA family are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, and the timing of this article was extremely unfortunate for both Bill and his family. Nevertheless, it should go without saying that since Bill is no longer living, the insinuations made by ProPublica completely fall apart or are otherwise moot.
Bill had established a private printing shop that provided much of TPUSA’s field and event signage and printing for the period of a few years. We were grateful for Bill’s ingenuity in helping the organization meet a growing need that helped us be good stewards of the organizations limited resources. Far from enriching him, Bill’s wholesale arrangement provided the organization with deep discounts.
Here is the full statement provided to ProPublica regarding this arrangement:
“Mr. Montgomery provided services that TPUSA needed to be supplied through 220 Main and ACG at a lower cost than what TPUSA would have otherwise paid another vendor. All expenses incurred represent fair market value or lower for the trade services received, and in fact allowed for significant savings. These decisions were made with Mr. Montgomery recused, and with the organization’s best interest paramount.”
The article’s other main assertions center around Bill Montgomery’s relationship to TPUSA’s accounting firm, The Stapleton Group, and its principle, Bob Stapleton, alleging that their casual friendship created a conflict of interest—an allegation TPUSA flatly rejects. Why? Because of three main points:
1) Bob Stapleton and Bill Montgomery were never formally connected in any professional capacity. They were simply casual friends from a similar part of the Chicago suburbs.
2) Bill Montgomery never received any money from the Stapleton Group nor was he ever employed by the company. In 2010, two years before TPUSA was even conceived, Bill briefly attempted to bring in new business for The Stapleton Group. This arrangement was never formalized, nor did any business materialize. Nevertheless, Bill listed this on an old professional biography that both he and TPUSA were unaware of until it was discovered as the article was in process.
3) Bob Stapleton is a peer-reviewed, licensed CPA in the state of Illinois. His firm conducts tax, accounting and auditing services for numerous other organizations and individuals.
A final point that we feel is imperative to understanding the dynamic behind the ProPublica reporting is Charlie Kirk’s close relationship with the First Family. There is simply no getting around that this relationship draws a high level of scrutiny and media attention both to the organization and to Charlie personally. In light of these dynamics, the article predictably relies on cherry-picked “experts” to assert the appearance of a lack of independence on The Stapleton Group’s part (an assertion our counsel adamantly disagrees with); and was the product of a politically motivated attempt to uncover wrongdoing where none existed. It is unfortunately a product of the political moment we live in rather than any wrong doing on the part of Turning Point USA.
Regardless of the media’s attacks, rest assured that TPUSA maintains the highest level of integrity both from a reporting and compliance standpoint, as well as from a conflict of interest and independence standpoint. The organization does this not only because it’s the right and legal thing to do, but also because we are very much aware of scrutiny we operate under.
We believe articles like these are proof positive that TPUSA is on the right path and is growing in influence and impact. We remain incredibly grateful for your belief and support of our mission as we continue to play offense with a sense of urgency to win America’s culture war.
Chief Financial Officer