I don’t watch MSNBC, but MSNBC watches Dakota Free Press:
Rachel Maddow apparently opened her show last night with a graphic showing screen caps of the AP, CNN, and South Dakota media picking up the story she broke about the questionable legal status of Joel Arends’s Veterans for a Strong America and its endorsement of Donald Trump for President. And look who’s at the front of the local pack. (Hmm… I clearly need a bigger logo.)
Joel Arends is certainly spinning the story to fit other narratives this blog has covered. He tells KSFY that Rachel Maddow is a liar, just as he helped Annette Bosworth call her former employees liars and frame them for her raffle scam. He tells that Sioux Falls paper an even wilder story that his organization isn’t really his organization:
Veterans for a Strong America had its nonprofit status revoked after failing to file tax returns for three years. Arends admitted the problems but said the issues predate his involvement with the group and the organization’s current board of directors. He said the group disbanded in 2012 and he restarted it in 2014 only to inherit the previous group’s problems.
Arends said he planned to appeal the IRS’s decision. He said the “liberal media” drug up the issue to cast Veterans for a Strong America in a negative light.
“They’ve latched onto this old organization to give us a black eye,” Arends said [Dana Ferguson, “Vets Organization Head Says Donald Trump Event Was Legal,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.09.18].
What? Joel Arends created Veterans for a Strong America. He ran it in 2012, when he failed to swift-boat President Obama, and he runs it now. The IRS revoked its 501(c)4 non-profit status for failure to file the required 990 form for the last three years, which would bridges both sides of the hiatus in VSA activities Arends claims.
Arends sounds an awful lot like Joop Bollen, who claimed he could form SDRC Inc. to do the same job he was doing for the state at SDIBI, sign a contract with himself, and then avoid legal liability for things done by SDIBI or SDRC because SDIBI and SDRC, which were entirely him, were not him. Following that playbook, Arends’s next move should be to say that the state forced him to create VSA.
Correction 17:54 CDT: I complained this morning that I could not find “Veterans for a Strong America” in the Secretary of State’s corporate registry. Joel Arends contacted me and said his organization is there. Sure enough, it’s under “Vets for a Strong America”:
Registration of fictitious business names is effective for five years, so Arends appears to have registered “Vets for a Strong America” just last month.
The fictitious business name “Vets for a Strong America” is owned by “Vets for America,” incorporated by directors Joel Arends, Joel B. Anderson, and Charles E. Jones on August 31, 2015:
There you go, Rachel Maddow: Vets for a Strong America is at least three people. I preserve my incorrect text below so I may be continually reminded of my error. :-)
Speaking of the state, South Dakota has laws requiring non-profit corporations to file reports with the Secretary of State’s office. Veterans for a Strong America, which is based in South Dakota, does not appear to have any papers on file with the Secretary of State’s office. (I checked the fictitious names database, too—nothing there.) Dang—even SDRC Inc. still files annual reports. Joel, get with the program and remember to file your corporate papers, before you land me on MSNBC again!