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What the Hell, Mike Gravel?

 

Former Senator Leaves 9/11 Group, Takes Donations With Him

Brian Romanoff    Nor Cal Truth    Feb 21, 2012

This may be news to many of you. It's not pretty. It may upset you and let you down.

Former Senator Mike Gravel (who read the 'Pentagon Papers' leaks into the public record) had been actively involved in the 9/11 truth & justice movement for the last year.

That is over now.

Mike Gravel has taken money donated to the 9/11 Citizens Commission (9/11CC) and re-distributed those funds elsewhere without permission from the 9/11CC board or donors.

The organization he redistributed the donations to is an organization he founded and chairs – and it has nothing to do with 9/11.

The timeline of discussions can be found and read in whole starting with:

1. On Dec. 26th, the 9/11CC board wrote a letter to its endorsers, advisors and major donors. That letter was abbreviated and sent out to all donors on Jan 21st.

2. Mike Gravel wrote a response to the 9/11CC board on February 3rd

The above details are discussed further below.

(1):

On January 21st, the 9/11CC board sent an email out to all donors to the organization. That email was posted to a related thread at TruthAction within a week, and after being posted on a FaceBook page. Among many details in the letter from the board, the following is highlighted here:

..... we have a responsibility to relate to you some very serious and unfortunate news: There has come a parting of the ways of Senator Mike Gravel from the rest of the 9-11cc team. Briefly, the pivotal event of that parting came to our attention in mid-December when we found that our bank account, under the sole control of Mike Gravel, was being tapped for large, unauthorized expenditures paid to promote an unrelated campaign of Mike's - his National Initiative for Democracy (NI4D). When this disturbing item was put on our Campaign Team's agenda for the next team meeting, Mike Gravel, for the first time, declined to participate, and instead sent a long letter in which he expressed his intention to dissolve the legal entity that our 9-11cc organization had established to enable us to collect funds. Mike Gravel further informed us of his plan to transfer the 9-11cc's funds to his own, unrelated NI4D campaign. Both of Mike's proposals were rejected by all other members of the board. Although as a Board we had been in discussion for several months about refinements to our path going forward, these radical, unilateral decisions by Mike Gravel came as a complete shock to us. Shortly thereafter, our treasurer, George Ripley, made an unsuccessful attempt to have our accountant freeze our bank account to prevent further unauthorized and unaccounted-for expenditures. As our Board prepared to meet two nights later to consider our response (a meeting Mike Gravel again chose not to attend), we found that $25,000 more had been withdrawn that same day from our bank account, leaving only about a $6,000 balance (now ~$1000).

We tried in vain up to and throughout the Christmas holidays to use reason and peer pressure to get Mike Gravel back into productive communication with the rest of the Board, and to persuade him to return the donated funds to the Citizen's Commission Campaign....

The 9/11CC Board obviously made a mistake by allowing the money to be in the sole control of Mike Gravel. That mistake does not excuse Mike Gravel's actions.

(2):

Two weeks later on February 3rd Mike Gravel responded to the 9/11CC board email. Gravel's response was posted to the Truth Action forum again. The important points from Gravel's response are covered below:

In May 2011, Ken Jenkins and George Ripley were pushing me into a leadership role within the 911 movement that I was reluctant to take on...

...The forms creating the California Recipient Committee called the “Citizens 911 Commission” were filed on May 13, 2011 and received by the Secretary of State on May 16th. My name as the “sole principal” is the only name associated with the entity in California. I secured an EIN number from the IRS on that basis and opened an account at Wells Fargo. No other names or persons are legally associated with this California entity or its bank account. As the authorized signer who opened the account at Wells Fargo, I made provisions with the bank for Jenkins, Belitsos and Ripley to access the account only to view its activity in real-time...

...

As a California Recipient Committee, we had no operable bylaws and none were required to be filed by the state. I subsequently drafted Articles and Bylaws in anticipation of creating an IRS C4 corporation, which was the planned next step in our logical growth, going from a working group of volunteers into a legal corporate entity.

Initially, our intent was to file an initiative in California. I visited and worked with the attorneys at the State’s Legislative Council in Sacramento, drafting my concept into a legally acceptable initiative proposal. However, it became obvious that a California initiative campaign was out of the question at this time; it would take several million dollars to qualify an initiative for the ballot and more to wage a viable enactment campaign.

Since we planned no political activity in California and were limited in accepting foreign contributions, it was understood by all those involved (Jenkins, Freeland and Ripley) that we would dissolve the Recipient Committee before the end of the year or face extensive and expensive reporting requirements that were irrelevant to our national and global activity. In the event of dissolution, California law is very clear; whatever monies are in the Committee’s bank account must be donated to a government recognized charity or returned to the donors on a pro rata basis....

A pro rata return to donors would have been expensive accounting-wise and of de minim{i}s impact to all but one donor. I chose to donate all the funds in the account to the Democracy Foundation, a 501 c 3 charity recognized under federal law. The Democracy Foundation, which I founded and chaired, is the educational sponsor of the National Citizens Initiative, an initiative that when enacted into law will empower citizens to make laws in every government jurisdiction. The process to enact the National Citizens Initiative can be undertaking in any country where citizens are allowed to vote. Obviously, if we able to enact the National Citizens Initiative, it would provide an excellent opportunity to enact a federal law creating a new Citizens 911 Commission with federal powers far superior to anything we would expect to secure with a state initiative.

...All told we raised around $85,000 in 2011; and more than half has been spent on travel and overhead...

Mike Gravel simply chose to redistribute the funds to an organization he founded and chairs without permission from the donors.

Maybe Gravel thought people were donating to him and not to the organization of an idea for a citizens 9/11 investigation? That would have been the wrong assumption: Gravel was given donations by 9/11 activists, plain and simple.

The irony of giving stolen money to a "Democracy Foundation" that the thief founded and chairs is not lost here. Is this Gravel's idea Citizen Power?

Gravel states further that the process of redistribution to donors would have been "expensive accounting-wise" and "de minimis," or too insignificant to be worthy of concern "to all but one donor."

Is Mike Gravel trying to downplay the impact of his actions by stating only one person will be greatly affected? Hogwash!

Before publishing this letter, I contacted a 9/11CC board member to see if I could learn more. A message came back with the following information:

The biggest donor put in nearly $48K. The next biggest donor was $10K. Next was $2.5K. There were several more donors at $1K and up. There were some others at $500 and up. I do not consider any of those amounts "small".

The economy is in the pits and more than a quarter of the US is out of work. 9/11 activists are up against enough walls without Mike Gravel thinking it's too insignificant to be worthy of concern that he redistributed their donations, without consent.

Even that discussion becomes a distraction for the sad fact that Mike Gravel could have chosen a much more graceful and respectful way to distance himself from something he was "reluctant to take on" as he says, if that was ever really the case: During personal interactions he always seemed not so reluctant about the 9/11CC.

More to the point and simply put: Mike Gravel is a thief and a liar.

The 9/11CC board confronted Mike Gravel only after noticing that money had been withdrawn in November without permission. After asking Gravel about the missing money, did he take another $25,000 without permission in December and cease contact with the 9/11CC board.

Mike Gravel has not returned the money to the 9/11 CC board or its donors.

I hate to say it, but the one thing that comes to mind is an old Steve Miller song.

Mike Gravel should return the money, plain and simple.

Thanks...

Thanks for relating to us the facts of what happened, NorCalTruth...
A sad history indeed.

Yeah,

I hate to write it, but I felt someone had to.

your tone

So you hated writing this, huh? Your tone suggests otherwise. So you say you're sad, but I don't read an once of sadness here. If you truly hated to write it, you would have made an effort to contact the small handful of donors and report on their comments and verify the accusations and concerns, directly, or include the comments of those who take a different position than you.

Well, I don't know if you're a thief, too, but you come across like a liar. You didn't hate to write this, you got satisfaction out of it. You're all over Gravel for the words he used. You need to be a little more careful, too, about your choice of words.

The biggest misconception being tossed around is that Gravel's 9/11 ballot initiative was unrelated to his direct democracy efforts. I think he's been explicit about that from the beginning. IMO his biggest mistake was to start 911cc. He should have simply made the 9/11 ballot initiative a project of NI4D. That would have been a better reflection of how he views it. He started 9/11cc to expedite fund raising -- and it worked. Pretty much single handedly, he raised more money in three months than any 9/11 group could even fantasize raising in that time period -- for anything. And the reaction of the truth community? Censorship, warantless attacks, and pissing and moaning about minutia every step of the way instead of sucking it up, learning to compromise, and committing to finding common ground with an elder statesman who could have done a lot for the movement. And the whole thing blew up in everyone's face.

As much as I hate having 9/11 as a a reality.

One donor said he felt "robbed."

Present the "other side," please.

re

And one donor I know who gave $1,000 is perfectly happy with the way Gravel is using the money. So what does any of that prove?

If your donor friend had written something about this, I'm sure that "sadness" y'all keep talking about would be far more apparent. If some people felt "robbed," let them join in on the conversation to explain their experience. But coming from you it's just hearsay. I certainly don't owe you an explanation about anything. I stated my opinion, like everyone else here. If you don't like it, move on to the next opinion.

Jumping off bridges

And one donor I know who gave $1,000 is perfectly happy with the way Gravel is using the money. So what does any of that prove?

Well, beyond following Mike off a bridge, it seems apparent your friend did not donate to a new 9/11 investigation.

Not to say the 9/11CC is the way to go either. Loose Nuke wrote a good post detailing the problems with the 9/111CC.

This post is about Mike taking money from a group and giving it to another group he founded and chaired, without permission.

Hmm

So now you're entitled to speak about what everyone's donation meant to them. Where do you get off? My friend made his name, decisions and motivation public in the comments at 9/11truth news. Your funny, dude. Out of one side of your mouth you're ready to slam 911cc, and then when it's convenient, you defend them. You say the post was about taking the group's money, as if they raised it on their own and Mike just showed up, The accurate account is Mike started the group and then went out and raised some money. The fact that this author and you conveniently avoid the reality of how this got started indicates to me that there is an undeclared motive behind all of these accusations. As long as that's the case, the story behind 911cc will be as murky as 911, itself.

As far as jumping off bridges with Mike, I literally shattered my elbow videotaping the Boston press conference and I now have a plate that will be in my body for the rest of my life -- and it's a badge of honor for me. I liken it to a Daniel Ellsberg quote I read on Boiling Frogs this weekend: "Asked in 1971 if he was prepared to go to prison for releasing the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg’s reply was simple: “Wouldn’t you go to jail to end this war?” Now, breaking my elbow for Gravel didn't bring about a 9/11 investigation, but in my mind it brought me one step closer to being able to help make that happen, and thankfully, nothing you can say will change that.

So now you're entitled to

So now you're entitled to speak about what everyone's donation meant to them. Where do you get off

Sorry if I gave you that impression.

My friend made his name, decisions and motivation public in the comments at 9/11truth news.

I see that, thanks for the direction. I understand that Mike Gravel was a huge draw for many to the 9/11CC, but don't be mistaken, it was not just Mike Gravel that was involved! And Mike was working towards a 9/11 investigation directly, rather than whatever he is doing now by stealing money for his Democracy group.

I liked Gravel too when I met him a long time ago during early discussions, here in the SF Bay Area.

I say "jumping off bridges" about your friend because I really don't like that Gravel took the money without asking instead of redistributing it to the donors. Maybe your friend does not care about $1000.00, but I know many others cared about more and less money given to him. It's dishonest, and your friend doesn't care!

Your funny, dude. Out of one side of your mouth you're ready to slam 911cc, and then when it's convenient, you defend them.

Do you mean that I am ok pointing out Erik Larson's (aka Loose Nuke) critique of the 9/11 CC while pointing out that Mike Gravel's actions to the 9/11CC were dishonest? Yeah, I am ok with that.

. You say the post was about taking the group's money, as if they raised it on their own and Mike just showed up

It is about Mike taking the money. He was part of a group effort. There was a board and he took money without them knowing. they asked him about it and he ditched out with another $25,000. Just because you don't care doesn't mean others don't.

The accurate account is Mike started the group and then went out and raised some money

That is not accurate. It wasa group effort, both sides have acknowledged this.

The fact that this author and you conveniently avoid the reality of how this got started indicates to me that there is an undeclared motive behind all of these accusations

I am the author, and I am me. So there is only one person here, bud. How what got started, the 9/11CC? Undeclared motive? No, I declared it: Return the money to the donors!

Ad as far as your second paragraph, I'm sorry to hear about your elbow.

yes or no will do

Was there a 911cc before Gravel announced that he wanted to use the 911 issue as the first initiative of his Direct Democracy campaign?

Did anyone raise any money other than Gravel?

How do you figure Mike is allowed to steal $30,000?

Donors donated money to an idea, in which Gravel was playing a part.

When people donate to ae911truth they are not donating to Richard's projects outside of ae911truth, they are donating to ae911truth.org.

my elbow

If you read my comment correctly, I said it's a badge of honor, one that pales in comparison to Gravel's contribution to American society. No need to feel sorry for me.

both sides of you mouth

"Mike Gravel has not returned the money to the 9/11 CC board or its donors.....Mike Gravel should return the money, plain and simple."

When the 911cc "team" was attempting to do something in Massachusetts, you were part of the contingency that was highly critical of the "team" and it's efforts, going out of your way to discredit and block the efforts of the "team," insisting that it was a waste of money and telling people not to donate to the "team." I can only surmise that you felt that people would be donating to an effort that was not worthwhile, again surmising that the people who would donate were making a big mistake. Now you suggest one option that the money be returned to the 911cc "team" that is engaged in an unworthwhile effort, so that they can continue to waste it as they were doing before. That doesn't make any sense. You're injecting a lot of "team (group) effort" language to illuminate your disdain for Gravel's actions. You have not been forthright on your current views about "the team" and if and why those views have changed.

So no, you haven't clearly declared your motive, you're flip flopping or worse, playing both sides of the coin. In the original post you wanted the money returned to either 911cc or the donors. It's only toward the end of this thread that you've narrowed it down to "return it to the donors." You may not like my perspective, but like Ron Paul, at least i've been consistent. It's been untenable for me, Gravel, Rich and those who pushed forward with this idea to deal with people like you who choose to criticize every step of the way and dissuade others while you're making up your mind.

Wrong again.

When the 911cc "team" was attempting to do something in Massachusetts, you were part of the contingency that was highly critical of the "team" and it's efforts, going out of your way to discredit and block the efforts of the "team," insisting that it was a waste of money and telling people not to donate to the "team."

You don't know what you are talking about. When Larson's critique came out I said "I hope the good people at 9/11CC take the constructive criticism well." Where is all this crap you are talking about?
http://911blogger.com/news/2011-09-25/flaws-citizens-911-commission-campaign-erik-larson#comment-254204

I can only surmise that you felt that people would be donating to an effort that was not worthwhile, again surmising that the people who would donate were making a big mistake. Now you suggest one option that the
money be returned to the 911cc "team" that is engaged in an unworthwhile effort, so that they can continue to waste it as they were doing before

Erik Larson pointed out flaws in the 9/11CC, I am pointing out flaws in Mike Gravel's actions following his departure from the 9/11CC.

You're injecting a lot of "team (group) effort" language to illuminate your disdain for Gravel's actions. You have not been forthright on your current views about "the team" and if and why those views have changed.

No, I enter that language because you are trying to make the 9/11CC a Gravel only event. It was not. I contacted a board member, who I know closely, before publishing this letter. So I obviously have respect for people involved, besides Mike Gravel now. Is that forthright enough?

So no, you haven't clearly declared your motive, you're flip flopping or worse, playing both sides of the coin. In the original post you wanted the money returned to either 911cc or the donors. It's only toward the end of this thread that you've narrowed it down to "return it to the donors." You may not like my perspective, but like Ron Paul, at least i've been consistent.

I don't know if I would consider saying the same thing twice "flip floppping," but you are welcome to your own perspective.

It's been untenable for me, Gravel, Rich and those who pushed forward with this idea to deal with people like you who choose to criticize every step of the way and dissuade others while you're making up your mind.

Yeah, somepeople just can't take criticism, even when it is constructive.

Huh?

But coming from you it's just hearsay

Really? Is it just a weird coincidince that Gravel is gone from the 9/11CC website and the money bar is gone?

Did you not follow the links to Mike's letter?

You want more from Mike? Here:

http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/my-spam-reply-to-mike-gravels-email/

Gravel responds again in the comment section.

∎∎∎∎∎∎∎

Where is the proof of the current location of all the money that has been donated to the Citizen's 9-11 Commission Campaign?