Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, has spent countless hours working with lawyers to get the tax status of our organization established, one that is charitable (c3) and one that is political (c4). She knows the laws, and they are exacting.


When she heard Betsy DeVos tell the Senate committee that she was not on the board of her mother’s foundation and that the listing of her name on the foundation documents was “a clerical error,” Burris was incredulous.


She wrote this comment:


“Betsy DeVos statement that it was “a clerical error” that she was listed as a Vice President of the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation is not plausible. The 990PF forms of the Foundation from 1998 (the earliest year on Guidestar) until the latest filing which is 2014, list Elizabeth DeVos as a Vice President. The family foundation is a “pass through” fund that makes donations to extremely conservative and religious causes.


“The assets of the Foundation total over 27 million dollars.


“According to Michigan law, any Foundation, including private foundations, must undergo an independent financial audit during any year that the foundation receives in excess of $500,000 in contributions. In 2012, the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation received nearly $19 million in contributions. Therefore the Foundation would have been subject to an extensive audit that year.


“Part of the audit includes the review of all Board member names, and contact information. All information about board officers must be provided. If her name has been “inadvertently listed” by error for fourteen years it would have been discovered in the independent audit. Yet she is listed on the 990PFs for both 2013 and 2014.”


You can read the audited tax forms of the foundation on the website of NPE Action, where they are posted. The forms list the officers, the assets, and the amounts paid to various causes.


She didn’t tell the truth to the Senate committee.