When I first helped the authors of this post, I was doing it to help out an effort by partisans of HONESTY. Since CROOKS AND LIARS is an uber Liberal site, read and comment over there at your own risk. I was banned after being ATTACKED in the comment section by regulars of the site, by some PUSSY moderator there. No warning, no nothing. Lesson learned. I am sorry I ever associated with that site. The post will remain up as it is informative and well written, but I will advise you to be wiser than I have in thinking that people on the left could be civil. They are NOT.
Co-authored with Alex Brant-Zawadzki and Bill Schmalfeldt. Research assistance by Melissa Brewer.
Ali Akbar, now President of the National Bloggers Club, is one of the conservative blogosphere's most infamous characters. He began his campaign of notoriety with a crime spree in 2006, blazing a six-year trail of fraud. That's him up there, in the mug shots. Akbar's story is as improbable as the Tea Party movement itself, and a lesson on the privileges of power in the age of Citizens United. How did a petty crook rise to these heights in such a short time? Why does he enjoy such influential connections today?
We ask these questions because we see an emerging bipartisan consensus that Akbar's National Bloggers Club (NBC) is entirely notional. Akbar has never applied to the IRS for 501(c)3 status -- despite having claimed as much on the NBC Facebook page. While the NBC requires an unusual amount of personal information from donors, they do not offer those donors an EIN (Employer ID Number) to make their contributions tax deductible.
An EIN is provided upon application for nonprofit status, and should be available if the National Bloggers Club has applied. It is an easy online process. Yet we have been unable to locate an EIN in any database, and inquiries by both liberal and conservative bloggers have been met with silence. When journalist Bill Schmalfeldt contacted the Internal Revenue Service, he was informed that no EIN existed in their database for a National Bloggers Club.
This would be less distressing if Akbar didn't have a long history of covering up his tracks and minimizing his criminal past. In 2006, he stole items from a woman's home; he later broke into a vehicle, stole a debit card, and withdrew money from the victim's account, earning a felony conviction. Yet this record did not keep Akbar out of Republican politics.
Barely a year later, Akbar was accused of discussing election fraud tactics. The accuser, Joey A. Dauben, was a former colleague. In coverage of the controversy, Akbar was frequently and mistakenly identified as a John McCain campaign staffer due to his involvement in Bloggers for McCain, a "cooperating" website independent from the campaign itself. Akbar also caught flak for “scrubbing the web” to cover the tracks of Michael Meissner, a former police chief who was charged with posing as a woman and soliciting photos of underaged boys.
In April 2008, Akbar pleaded guilty to the debit card fraud and was sentenced to four years probation and restitution of the stolen money. His probation ended in May of this year. In the meantime, Akbar has built quite a blog empire for himself -- and runs it from his mother's house.
By 2008 Akbar had linked up with Eric Odom's Don't Go movement. They likely met up when Akbar’s firm, Republic Modern, designed the old website of Sam Adams Alliance, for which Odom was the new media director. When Odom started American Liberty Alliance (ALA), a tea party website that was mainly in the business of monetizing other Tea Party sites with ads, he brought Akbar along with him. Starting off as ALA’s Technology Consultant, Akbar would eventually became Chairman of ALA's Board, spending much of his time collecting non-deductible donations.
Yes, despite claiming to be in the application process for 501(c) 4 status in August 2009, ALA eventually was embarrassed into posting the following caveat on their website (though not their donation page): “The American Liberty Alliance is not a 501c3, 501c4 or a PAC. We are not registered as a non-profit and we do not raise funds as such.” Yet they incorporated under the name “American Liberty Alliance - A Non-Profit Corporation.”
The most excoriating examination of the ALA came from Erick Erickson, who reported that ALA had eventually been rolled up into an Eric Odom PAC:
For a number of months I have had more than my share of phone calls from conservative donors, bloggers, activists, campaigns, and others wishing someone would speak out. Several tried pushing this story into the mainstream media, but we all know what would happen there ? we’d turn people into martyrs who shouldn’t be.READ the rest of this epic bi-partisan effort to get rid of a crook and a scammer, regardless of political views. HONESTY, INTEGRITY, ACCOUNTABILITY
At best this conduct looks like ignorance of the complex bureaucracy and regulations surrounding the FEC. At its worst, it looks like . . . well, you decide. I’m sure even more will come out now that I’m willing to speak up and it does not look like a case of simple ignorance. If it were an isolated incident it’d be one thing, but it is a pattern.