The following is a guest post from Michael Boos, Vice President and General Counsel of the group Citizens United:
The group 99Rise made headlines earlier this week when several of its members disrupted proceedings at the U.S. Supreme Court in a protest over the Supreme Court’s recent campaign finance law rulings, including Citizens United v. FEC. This wasn’t the first time, the group disrupted the Supreme Court. Last year, several of its members, including co-founder Kai Newkirk, pulled off a similar stunt. There’s even of videotape of Newkirk yelling: “Money is not speech. Corporations are not people.” 99Rise’s anti-corporate theme appears throughout its promotional materials, including on its website, where it calls for a constitutional amendment to “ensure that neither private wealth nor corporate privilege could be used to exercise undue influence over elections and policy making.”
While 99Rise and its spokespersons rail against corporations, nowhere on its website or in its promotional materials does the group or its leaders disclose a critical fact – 99Rise is the very embodiment of the corporate form that it so readily condemns. According to filings with the California Secretary of State’s office, 99Rise is a consortium of two corporate entities – 99Rise National Support Center, which was incorporated on August 7, 2014, and 99Rise Action, which was incorporated on October 14, 2014. And both corporate entities share the same registered agent – Noah Kai Newkirk – the anti-corporate protester who disrupted the Supreme Court.
But there’s more. 99Rise solicits contributions on its website, where the contribution page tells would be contributors: “Contributions are tax-deductible.” This, of course, implies the group is a California charity. Nevertheless, according to the California Attorney General’s charities website, none of the 99Rise organizations are registered with that office to solicit contributions for charitable purposes
99Rise, a group that’s clearly the personification of “Do As I Say, Not As I Do.”
Vice President & General Counsel