Recently, the University of North Carolina paid a Confederate group to take possession of a Confederate monument, a deal that stank like a garbage dump. They paid $2.6 million to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a shady low-rent outfit of good ol’ boys who existed only to promote racism, which made it even stankier. Now the SCV has been further exposed — they’re a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization which is prohibited from meddling in politics, and guess what they’ve been doing? Meddling in politics, of course.
For years, the pro-Confederate group that the UNC System dealt $2.6 million has been violating federal tax laws, operating a political action committee in violation of its tax-exempt status and facilitating political donations through illegal means, according to numerous individual first-hand accounts, a slew of internal communications provided to The Daily Tar Heel and multiple expert legal opinions.
The North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. struck a pair of backdoor deals last November with UNC System Board of Governors members. A predetermined lawsuit and settlement gave the group Silent Sam and $2.5 million in UNC System money for the Confederate monument’s “preservation and benefit.” A week previous, the system paid $74,999 to the SCV for an agreement to limit its display of Confederate symbolism on UNC System property.
When I say low-rent, I mean it. SCV has $100 membership dues, and their process is rather irregular. The dues are paid to an individual who cashes the checks and doles out payments with little in the way of documentation.
“We tend to have the cigar box in the gun safe approach,” Starnes wrote. “So the checks are made out to the Captain, ie, Bill Starnes, so they can be cashed.”
They’ve got enough members that the organization’s income gets up into the range of tens of thousands of dollars, and UNC just plopped a couple of million dollars into Bill Starnes’ lap. This is nuts. It represents considerable fiduciary irresponsibility on the part of UNC — why are they paying all this money out to a fringe group with little financial oversight? — and suggests that there’s an even deeper layer of corruption in the UNC system that hasn’t been fully exposed yet.
I can’t even imagine my university dropping a few mil on some radical group to perform a dubious “service” for us. Heads would roll. Our students would rage at the wasteful use of their tuition dollars.