The Richmond Progressive Alliance Wishes to Thank Its Financial Supporters
In Quick Response from RPA Spin Machine, July 29, 2022, you will see that Suzanne Wilson writes, “RPA does not take corporate money. The Preston-Werner Foundation is not a corporation, nor does it serve corporate interests. None of the Preston-Werner Foundation donation has been used for political purposes, nor will it be.”
Sorry Sue, but that statement is patently false. The Preston-Werner-Foundation (Click here for tax filing) does, in fact, serve corporate interests by holding stock in and receiving dividends from over 500 corporations, including petrochemical companies Valero Energy Corporation, Phillips 66, and Marathon Petroleum Corporation. Also notable is Royal Bank of Canada, which RPA City Council members have recently vilified, as well as Bayer, which owns Monsanto, Coca-Cola, which makes sugared beverages, Fox Corporation, which runs Fox News, and Wynn Resorts, which runs a casino.
When Claudia Jimenez and other RPA leaders evaluated the proffered $125,000 from the Preston-Werner-Foundation, they concluded, “Presto (sic) Werner and his wife took 100M and put into their foundation and they give away a small portion of that each year.”
It may be true that the Preston-Werners transferred personal funds to the foundation at some point, but the Preston-Werner-Foundation is not just a passive pass-through for Preston-Werner’s wealth; the foundation owns millions of dollars in corporate stocks from which it earns dividends. The $100 million figure may also be a little high; the 2018 foundation tax return indicates total assets of a little over $32 million.
And Claudia is right about a “small portion.” For a $32 million foundation (2019), the Preston-Werner-Foundation is not exactly generous. In the last filing year (2019) available on Guidestar, they distributed only $355,000, none of which was targeted to charities serving the United States. All the money went to African and other countries.
Wilson’s statement that “None of the Preston-Werner Foundation donation has been used for political purposes, nor will it be,” is incredulous. That’s what the RPA is – political. Of course, we may never know because the Richmond progressive Alliance is neither a registered nonprofit nor a FPPC political committee, so they do not have to file any public reports of revenue or expenditures. They are completely opaque.
This is the sordid underbelly of the Richmond Progressive Alliance that holds itself out as squeaky clean.
Incidentally, RPA Steering Committee member Floy Andrews accepted a $2,500 contribution from Theresa Preston-Werner.