Anti-Equal Opportunity Activist Ward Connerly Facing Accusations of Financial Misconduct
January 19, 2012 - Posted by Anjali Thakur-Mittal
The New York Times has reported that longtime equal opportunity opponent Ward Connerly is being accused of financial misdeeds by a former colleague.
According to The Times, Jennifer Gratz – who worked for Connerly at the nonprofit American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) – says in a letter sent by her lawyer to the organization’s board of directors that “there may be some merit to the allegations of financial impropriety.” Among the issues that Gratz raises are Connerly’s excessive pay and tax-compliance issues that have been under investigation by the IRS and California’s Attorney General. Gratz was also the named plaintiff in a key 2003 Supreme Court case challenging the use of race in admissions to the University of Michigan.
As The Leadership Conference has reported, this is not the first time that Connerly's business and financial practices have come under scrutiny. In 2006, members of Congress sent a letter to the IRS urging an investigation into whether ACRI resources were used for personal income and salary. In 2003, Connerly admitted that he failed to comply with election finance law and paid fines, following a complaint filed by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
The Leadership Conference, which believes in expanding opportunity, not limiting it, continues to oppose Connerly’s agenda of seeking to eliminate equal opportunity in public higher education, employment, and contracting. Connerly and cohorts have most recently introduced an anti-equal opportunity initiative in Oklahoma that will appear on the November ballot.
Connerly’s long history of opposing equal opportunity includes pushing for the enactment of California’s Proposition 209, Washington's Initiative 200, Michigan’s Proposal 2, Nebraska’s Initiative 424, and Arizona’s Proposition 107. His efforts, however, were unsuccessful in Houston and in Colorado and Florida.
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