More Canary Party financial documents

2 Mar

The Canary Party grew out of the “vaccines caused an autism epidemic” movement. It’s a small group based in Minnesota. They bill themselves as:

The Canary Party is a movement created to stand up for the victims of medical injury, environmental toxins and industrial foods by restoring balance to our free and civil society and empowering consumers to make health and nutrition decisions that promote wellness.

Last July I wrote about their financial documents in Financial documents for the Canary Party. In that article I made the incorrect statement: “The Canary Party is not a charity, so they do not file form 990′s with the IRS.”

It turns out that they do file form 990. I can’t find them on Guidestar (perhaps because they are new?), but I found this one online. It’s for 2011, when the party formed.

When I wrote last July about the Canary Party, I noted that the financial statements on the Minnesota State Websites indicated that in their founding year (2011) they were largely funded by donations from Canary Party members/officers/founders Jennifer Larson ($40,665) and Mark Blaxill ($15,000).

The form 990 linked to above was an amended form, filed in July of 2013. Coincidentally, filed 10 days after my article about their financials. Per that amended IRS tax form for 2011, those amounts were not donations but loans.

The description of the organization’s mission is given as:

The time has come for a change. The mounting crisis in the health of children and other vulnerable groups has not only been ignored by medical authorities, it has been suppressed. As parents, citizens and advocates for the health of future generations, we must rise up to call attention to this crisis and take action to end it. In nominally democratic societies, which sadly are increasingly corrupted by the power of entrenched interests and economy of influence that surrounds the medical industrial complex, we can most effectively effect change by mobilizing for political action in order to take action against these corrupt forces. It is time to come together to form the Canary Party.

There’s another description as well, but you get the point. It’s a bit much, in my view, but not really out of line with their statements since.

At the time I wrote my previous article, it looked like the revenue to the Canary Party was decreasing. I wrote, “The Canary Party pulled in $72,000 in 2011 and $49,000 in 2012.” (at the time I didn’t know that a large part of the 2011 cash might be from loans). I noted that in 2012 a large fraction of their revenue came from a single donor, one Barry Segal, who apparently has since become disaffected with the Canary Party. I noted:

Per another comment posted to Respectful Insolence, the association between the Canary Party and Mr. Barry Segal appears to be strained. As Mr. Segal accounted for $30,000 of the party’s $49,000 revenue in 2012, one does wonder what 2013 revenue will look like.

Well, from the State of Minnesota site, here is the 2013 financial report on the Canary Party.

The Canary Party took in $17,245 in 2013. Of that, $15,000 was from Mr. Segal on January 2nd. The Canary Party started the year with $15,562.14 and, after $32,300.02 in expenses, ended the year with $687.12 in the bank.

To recap revenue in the last three years:

2011: $72,000 (of which $55,665 may have been in the form of loans)
2012: $49,000
2013: $17,245

Year-end assets

2011: $9,259.07
2012: $15,694.19
2013: $687.12

In other words: revenues and assets are way down. One does wonder how long the Canary Party will last, given these trends.

I find redefining the initial donations as loans to be very interesting. I don’t see evidence that the Canary Party paid back any portion of the loans in 2013. And, given their financial status, I don’t see the possibility of paying back the loans as highly likely. I do have a speculation as to why they might redefine the donations as loans, but I’ll hold off on that for now.

edit to add: here’s the part of the form 990 where they state that they are correcting the original to classify the contributions from the board members as loans.

CP Form 990


By Matt Carey

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8 Responses to “More Canary Party financial documents”

  1. Lawrence March 2, 2014 at 11:56 #

    @Matt – so where are the “hundreds of thousands” of supporters who supposedly as “donating?”

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 2, 2014 at 16:59 #

      Did they ever claim that they had a large number of donors?

      Mr. Blaxill and Ms. Larson have another org: American Citizens for Health Choice
      http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990_pdf_archive/454/454477022/454477022_201212_990EZ.pdf

      It’s not clear who donated the $74k, but the expenses are similar to the Canary Party: travel and conferences.

      • Lawrence March 2, 2014 at 20:00 #

        They do seem to be positioning themselves as some kind of “national organization.” By those records, it sounds like it is nothing more than a front to allow a select number of individuals to cover travel and misc. expenses.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 2, 2014 at 23:34 #

        It’s hard to say much from the outside. But the Canary Party seems to have mostly given them a reason to travel, not the means to travel. Much of the money–and in the future possibly most/all of the money–was money “loaned” or donated by the board members themselves. Once they lost Barry Segal they were on their own resources.

        The charity noted above gives them a way to donate money (tax deductible?) and use that to cover travel/convention expenses. Note that the board members for “American Citizens for Health Choice” and the “Canary Party” are basically the same.

        My prediction (worth what you paid, i.e. nothing) is that the Canary Party will dissolve into a largely social network entity and the charity will take its place shouldering the financial burden of travel and conventions. But who knows. Maybe they don’t consider these sums to be too large or another wealthy benefactor will come along.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 3, 2014 at 00:38 #

        Consider this, in 2011, the founding year for the Canary Party, they brought $72,018.66 in.

        From what I can see, of that
        (a) $40,665 came from Jennifer Larson
        (b) $15,000 came from Mark Blaxill
        (c) donations from others

        (a) and (b) are listed as loans in the amended tax return filed in 2013. I.e. the entire financial stake from Ms. Larson and Mr. Blaxill for 2011 is in the form of loans. Mr. Blaxill is listed as donating $10,000 in 2012. Was that “misclassified”? He has no entry that I see in the 2013 form. Ms. Larson has no contributions listed in 2012 and 2013 from what I see.

        One question I am very interested in is when the agreements defining these as loans were drafted. If this was in 2011, then were they expecting to get repaid and let everyone else make actual donations? If later, say in 2013, were they preparing for the possible financial demise of the Canary Party (which is what appears to be the future to me) at which time the loans would go into default and, possibly, become tax deductible business losses for Ms. Larson and Mr. Blaxill? I’m no MBA, but these are the questions that arise for this financial layman. The wording of the amended tax return is “the original filed return had loans from board members misclassified as contributions”. That might suggest that the intention was from the beginning to have these be loans.

        Now, this is the business of the Canary Party members, especially those who donated money. But neither explanation above would be acceptable to me were I a donor/member. I would not like donating money while board members are only loaning it. If board members are reclassifying their donations as loans–and remember I don’t have evidence this is happening–I’d be unhappy that the same opportunity was not afforded to me.

  2. futuredave5 March 2, 2014 at 12:54 #

    I think organizations like this one marginalize themselves. When you go to their website, it usually starts off with an opinion piece about GMOs. Readers might agree or disagree, but I might be interested in debate and nuance.

    Then, as you read on, the website gets into one vaccine article after another. Even if I wanted to support their stance about GMO labeling, the vaccine articles would turn me off. more to the point, their website is too disorganized to even keep my attention, much less spur me to action.

    But there is still a market out there for an organization that wants to “fight the power”, so to speak. If some small science-based charity were willing to seriously review the “research” that is being force-fed to the public by big business, they would be able to attract and retain members.

    Not a year goes by without at least one product-safety claim being proven false. Some of them are as simple as the safe exposure levels to pesticides, but others are deliberate misinformation campaigns by well-financed multinational corporations.

    The Canary Party’s “environmental toxins and industrial foods” mission statement sounds like they are getting ready to go after some sacred cows. Instead, their website reads like something that Jesse Ventura and the tinfoil hat crowd put together between episodes.

  3. Ian April 25, 2014 at 20:49 #

    Interesting that the new healthchoice.org (which is neither about health or choice; tawk amongst yourselves) web site lists the same mailing address at the Canary Party. Old whine in new bottles.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tax form for American Citizens for Health Choice | Left Brain Right Brain - August 1, 2014

    […] “American Citizens For Health Choice”. They have a site, HealthChoice.org. A while back I discussed them in the comments for a Canary Party article. As a charity they file tax forms (form 990) which are made public. […]

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