Inquirer Editorial: Faith and charity


The group’s website, which prominently identified it as a 501(c)3, disappeared after the reports.  Considering the mischief attributed to politically connected charities registered with the IRS, it’s troubling that Johnson’s organization hasn’t even submitted to that modest level of oversight. The councilman’s personal assurances may be sincere, but they are no substitute for basic accountability.


The Peace Not Guns puzzle


Johnson told CBS3 that any money raised for Peace Not Guns had actually been funneled through other non-profits. One of the groups Johnson mentioned was the Barrett Educational Center…a derelict shell that appears as though it hasn’t been used for quite some time…records of Barrett are not available because it is defunct.


Councilman’s “nonprofit” isn’t a nonprofit


Peace Not Guns, Inc. is not now and never has been a federally registered non-profit.  “It’s definitely not ethical to represent yourself as a 501(c) 3 when in fact you’re not one, and it’s possibly illegal,” said Zack Stalberg, CEO of the good government watchdog group Committee of Seventy.

Christopher Sample, Johnson’s chief of staff… said that the councilman has not kept any financial records for Peace Not Guns: “There are no financials for it at all. We don’t raise any money for it. It’s just a concept, really, just (Johnson’s) way of talking about the issue. He might do a roundtable for Peace Not Guns, or a rally, but there’s nothing financial for that.”  According to sources familiar with the office, Peace Not Guns did in fact raise funds, and various news reports and press releases dating back to 2008 appear to support that claim.


Councilman Under Fire For Calling His Group A “Non-Profit”

Questions abound over an anti-gun group founded by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson which was described for years as a non-profit.

Johnson now admits he never actually applied for non-profit status.

This past week the websiteAxisPhilly” reported that Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s group “Peace Not Guns” had been described for years as a 501(c) non-profit agency but it never in fact applied for federal certification as a non-profit.


Kenyatta Johnson acknowledges his group got more than “hundreds of dollars”

Zack Stalberg, recently departed chief executive of the watchdog group Committee of Seventy, has called for a federal or state investigation.  “When you’re talking about a 501(c)(3), it’s pretty well known it’s an official legal status, and you can’t be suggesting that you have that tax-exempt status when you don’t. . . It’s far more than sloppy.”


Who Didn’t Get Money Because Kenyatta Johnson’s People Not Guns Did?

The big deal with councilman’s unregistered nonprofit is that it likely deprived legit organizations of funding.  If Johnson’s organization…got funds they were not eligible to receive, you can bet an actual nonprofit, many of which are barely getting by, was declined.

I found the story to be deeply troubling, especially because Johnson claims to have completed the “Governing for Non Profit Excellence Certificate Program” offered at the Harvard School of Business.

The Rules Are For Chumps club

Peace Not Guns…was raising money—and telling people their donations were tax deductible when they, in fact, weren’t.