[Move America Forward] described the fundraising drive as a rousing success: In less than five weeks, all 800 Marines in a 1st Marine Division battalion nicknamed Geronimo were sent care packages and notes in Afghanistan, it claimed.Pictures posted by the group of their pro-troop efforts turn out have been skimmed from other corners of the internet, including pictures taken from the websites of other pro-troop charities. And there's a lot more.
But that couldn't have been true. The Marines of Geronimo weren't even in Afghanistan during Move America Forward's fund drive. Instead, they were deployed more than 3,000 miles away, in Okinawa, Japan. [...]
Last year, Move America Forward even solicited funds by claiming a partnership with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the largest hospital for wounded service members in the country. No such partnership existed, Defense Department officials say.
Move America Forward is the brainchild of Republican and Tea Party Express co-founder Sal Russo; Russo and his firm have themselves pocketed "about thirty percent" of the charity's expenditures. More problematic, the "charity" seems to have very close ties to Russo's explicitly pro-Republican efforts, sharing office space and, apparently, mailing lists, and for the supposed pro-troop charity that's a no-no:
A ProPublica reporter's father created an email address and signed up for the charity's mailing list on Nov. 21, using the address for nothing else.If nothing else, Move America Forward appears to have been been caught red-handed systemically misleading donors about its supposed charity efforts. And that's the best case scenario; the worst case scenarios are all things that the IRS will now likely be asking them about.
At first, a few emails arrived from Move America Forward. Then, on March 20, an email arrived from one of the PACs, the Conservative Campaign Committee, with the subject line, "Sarah Palin Motivating Conservatives to Vote in 2014," asking donors to give money for a "fantastic new TV ad in key swing states." On March 21, an email came from the Tea Party Express.