The following contains editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
SEATTLE, WA- Jason Rantz, conservative talk show host at KTTH in Seattle is reporting that Washington State through its Commerce Department directed federal COVID relief funds to nonprofits which have radical political agendas.
Rantz added that some taxpayer funds even went, albeit indirectly, to bail criminals out of jail.
According to Rantz, the selection process for funding was based on critical race theory…in other words, it was based on race. Some of the vetting for the funds, he said was based more on ideology than on need.
According to the Department of Commerce, led by a woman named Lisa Brown, they elected to “distribute COVID relief funds equitably to the communities hardest hit by the pandemic.”
Ah, but it came with a caveat.
In order to qualify for the funds, named the Washington Equity Relief Fund, people designated as “reviewers” ensured that the nonprofits were “led by and serving black, indigenous, and people of color.”
Clearly, based on the above criteria if a nonprofit were run by majority whites or was directed to serve entire communities, they would not qualify for assistance. Flip the script. If the funds were directed specifically toward white communities, Al Sharpton and the rest of the grievance mob would be in Olympia today.
The criteria used by the “reviewers,” no doubt imbedding their own personal political beliefs into the process is inherently racist against whites. Racism does exist both ways; it isn’t reserved to a one-way direction.
Rantz tells us that the Department of Commerce entered a partnership with Philanthropy Northwest, whereby grants amounting to $12 million was awarded to Washington nonprofits. The money was derived from the federal CARES Act passed by Congress and signed by former President Trump.
According to the process, some 100 peer reviewers reviewed and discussed applications before handing out the funding, in collaboration with Commerce.
So, the reviewers encompassed a cross section of races, correct? Not so much. They were “prioritized” based on race, with approximately 95% identifying as a racial minority, while 77% had at one time experienced poverty.
In the ultimate display of irony, Rantz said, the reviewers were forced to go through compulsory “anti-bias” training. For the trouble of clearly discriminating against whites, they were paid $500 each.
One would think that COVID relief dollars would be spread out equitably, especially since the program uses taxpayer dollars. Since taxpayers didn’t have any input on how these funds should be directed, it is proper for people to ask questions about a program that is clearly discriminatory.
Rantz said that some of the nonprofits receiving funds were pretty ho-hum, not likely to draw criticism, such as the Seattle World Percussion Society which received $25,000. However not all of the non-profits were apparently so milquetoast.
In one case, a nonprofit called Collective Justice, part of the Public Defenders Association is identified by Rantz as a partisan social justice group.
It is involved in lobbying efforts to decriminalize some offenses and is currently asking supporters to back a Democrat-sponsored bill which would force courts to ignore juvenile crimes of adult defendants during sentencing. That group also received $25,000 in federal taxpayer dollars.
Oh, but it gets even better (or worse). Rantz also found that the Council on Islamic American Relations of Washington (CAIR-WA), a far-left, anti-Semitic Israel-hating group also received funds. CAIR has fundraised in Washington State for leftist anti-Semite congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
The group is also tied to Hamas and other terrorist, anti-Israel groups, and the Anti-Defamation League has called out the group for just that.
Yet another group that received money from the fund is the Bail Project Spokane, which realized $50,000 from the fund. The nonprofit is part of a national group which is opposed to cash bail and has paid the bail for criminals who have gone on to commit high-profile crimes after they are released.
Rantz said that documents obtained from this group suggested inadequate vetting. Further, when digging into the rationale behind giving them the funding, Bail Project Spokane was selected not due to COVID but because of its political leanings.
While the Bail Project was described as a “small startup program,” its national operational budget says otherwise. According to Charity Navigator, the national organization had an operational budget of nearly $25 million in 2018 and $15 million in 2019. Yet they were given tax dollars.
Rantz said he was unable to determine based on documents provided by the Department of Commerce exactly how COVID impacted Bail Project Spokane’s work.
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According to the guidelines provided by the Department of Commerce, the organizations had to prove an impact from COVID in order to receive funding.
The Secretary of Commerce for the state said the fund was established because “these nonprofits are fighting to survive because the donations and local resources they depend on have dried up.”
In the case of Bail Project Spokane, it was their political activism that swung the pendulum to them for funding.
“The Bail Project Spokane addresses inequities created by the cash bail system, which disproportionately impacts BIPOS communities in Spokane,” said the rationale from Philanthropy NW which was provided to them by the nominating organization, Empire Health Foundation.
“Many individuals in Spokane are held in jail, pretrial, due to a bond they cannot afford to pay which is commonly less than $500. While some individuals can afford to pay their bond, others are forced to sig in jail for weeks and months before their court dates due to inability to pay.”
While some may feel this is a good cause, what on Earth does it have to do with impact from COVID-19? Nothing.
Rantz said he reached out to Bail Project Spokane for clarification on how COVID-19 impacted that organization because it’s unclear how the grant money was used.
According to Rantz, any nonprofit seeking funding had to sign a “letter of attestation” which says: “I agree that my organization has been impacted, including financially, by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Conversely, a group called the Climate Justice Initiative, obviously an environmentalist group received $50,000 from the fund; at least they explained specifically that the pandemic had led to canceled contracts and fundraisers.
So, did federal funds, i.e. taxpayer dollars go toward bailing felons out of jail? It didn’t seem as if it was steered directly toward that end. However, it was definitely indirectly steered that way.
Rantz notes that the groups mission is specifically intended to bail suspects out of jail. Funds utilized to keep the group operating is, in essence used to help bail suspects out of jail.
Under the attestation document signed by the Bail Project, signed by the organization’s representative, it said:
“I agree that my organization may be required to provide receipts or additional documentation for up to 6 years following the receipt of any grant funding. If any of the expenses paid with grant money are found ineligible according to Federal Treasury or application guidelines. Grantee agrees to reimburse Commerce the full amount of the grant award.”
That may be what they say, but a spokesman for the Department of Commerce told Rantz that “none of the organizations awarded grants are required to show receipts.” In other words, they say what they are “using” the funds for, but there’s no requirement to prove it.
The national Bail Project has a history of bailing out criminals who (of course) reoffend.
For example, in Chicago, the fund helped bail out a man named Christopher Steward, 34, for an incident involving his ex-girlfriend. In that incident, Steward shot a gun into the ground at her 6-year-old son’s birthday party, then threatened to kill her. He was arrested and the Bail Project posted his bond.
Just a month later, Steward attempted to burn her alive inside her apartment. Chicago police officers “rescued her as she hung out of a kitchen window,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Sadly, things turned out much differently in St. Louis. The Bail Fund sprung a man named Samuel Lee Scott, arrested in connection with a domestic assault case. After he was released, he was arrested for beating her to death. Still, local leaders with the Bail Project were unconcerned by the incident.
“If he’d been wealthy enough to afford bail he would have been free in either case,” said an obviously cold-hearted manager for the St. Louis Bail Project, Mike Milton, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“Moments like this are devastating but it’s important not to lose sight of the larger injustices of cash bail and the need for reform.”
As one might expect, abuse of federal taxpayer dollars for “COVID relief” is not limited to Washington State, nor are they the only one that engages in political pandering in distribution of funds.
The Oregon Cares Fund directed over $60 million to solely help black residents of the state and black-owned businesses. This right here is how you heal the “racial divide,” apparently. That funding as well came from the CARES Act and is facing discrimination lawsuits.
Meanwhile in Denver, artists from so-called “marginalized” communities were given priority for one-time grants funded by the CARES Act, with similar hijinks being perpetrated in Boston. All of this is of course being done to make up for historical “wrongs” and to assure “equity.”
As Rantz notes, taxpayer funded programs that are supposed to help all people shouldn’t be used to fund pet projects and give preferential treatment to certain groups. No one person or group should be considered more important than another.
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