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Forum Post: Why is there not a transparent FINANCE SECTION on this site?

Posted 8 years ago on Oct. 13, 2011, 1:04 p.m. EST by jbell78 (152)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

This movement has collected cash and DONATIONS NORTH OF $500,000 (conservative estimate) and yet there is zero transparency about where this money is or how it's being used.

As part of this movement, I demand that "Finance" be a tab up top with everything else and that all donations & usage are completely documented (via a public Google spreadsheet) to the rest of the supporters who already have or are thinking about donating.

The occupiers are facing winter, threats from the city to evict them, etc. A confrontation is going to happen soon. They WILL need lots of financial help in the weeks to come and we should demand that this transparency be set up before another wave of donations starts pouring in.

75 Comments

75 Comments


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[-] 2 points by Nicolas (258) from Québec, QC 8 years ago

I agree that there should be something set up in that direction. Right now though, I find it a stretch to attribute to malice what is easily explained by incompetence. Well, not incompetence per say, but I'm not sure how ready the organizing folk were for this sort of money, and I'd expect it would take some time to settle on protocols and such for a treasury via GA. It has to come, eventually, but my opinion is that they simply don't have a handle on it right now.

Besides, they're asking directly for food, clothing items, and camping equipment. This just doesn't feel like a scam at all.

[-] 1 points by booshington (397) 8 years ago

There is actually, you just can't see it.

[-] 2 points by Democracydriven (658) 8 years ago

Maybe it has to do with that remaining anonymous thingy, yuh think?

It really is nice to see your heartfelt propaganda

[-] 1 points by groobiecat2 (746) from Brattleboro, VT 8 years ago

Erm, I disagree. I'm a big supporter (check any posts in this forum or blog to verify), but I've voiced this concern as well. And really, it would be pretty ironic if #OWS is demanding transparency for the democracy as a whole without providing it on its own small scale. It can be done without names, but high level explanations about who controls the money and how it's managed (escrow account? limited access? reporting?) is essential. If #OWS wants to be taken seriously--and it does--any lawyer worth her or his degree will tell you that this is pretty important. Maybe not today, but some point soon.

It's only a matter of time before this becomes a lever against the movement--not because of posts like this against it, but because the media picks up on it. The headline reads something like this:

"OVER $500,000 IN DONATIONS BUT NO ACCOUNTABILITY? WHERE'S THE TRANSPARENCY IN OCCUPY WALL STREET?"

Then the movement will have to waste valuable time addressing it and backpedaling, but by then the narrative damage will already be done. This is avoidable and relatively easy to fix, but it's entirely likely to happen unless there's an effort to address it.

In the absence of information, people always think (and act on) the worst...

Peace.

www.groobiecat.blogspot.com

[-] 1 points by Democracydriven (658) 8 years ago

Why are you portraying them as crooks? Are they working against your best interest?

Is it Bernie Madoff all over again?

When I give money to any charity or cause I don't run around telling people I am worried where my money went

Wall street stole about $40,000 from me and I want them to pay

[-] 1 points by groobiecat2 (746) from Brattleboro, VT 8 years ago

"Why are you portraying them as crooks?"

Well, people who commit fraud against the government are, in fact, crooks. That's pretty much one very clear definition of criminal activity.

"Are they working against your best interest? Is it Bernie Madoff all over again?"

Sorry, these questions make no sense.

"When I give money to any charity or cause I don't run around telling people I am worried where my money went"

LOL. Sorry, but are you high? This has to do nothing to do with anything being "discussed" here (but increasingly it's clear that there's not a real one of those happening...)

"Wall street stole about $40,000 from me and I want them to pay"

Yeah, you're definitely high...

Peace.

[-] 1 points by GetOnTheLoveTrain (4) from Orem, UT 8 years ago

Are you serious?

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Propaganda? Care to explain?

As for remaining anonymous, I have this super awesome solution of how to deal with that too...line item of "anonymous" along with the amount for anyone who chooses not to leave a name with their donation (like me).

[-] 2 points by Democracydriven (658) 8 years ago

I was talking about OWS people remaining anonymous. When is the last time a Corporation told you where their money is?

If you don't feel comfortable donating money to them then don't do it

Your forum is transparent, any halfwit can see that all you are trying to do is make people distrustful of the movement

[-] 2 points by teociontu (29) from Bucharest, Bucuresti 8 years ago

You are right. This is the only reason for such posts. Divide and conquer tactics, are not working anymore. People are awake.

[-] 1 points by Democracydriven (658) 8 years ago

right on brother. I heard this slogan going around lately

"This is the dawning of the age of transparency"

[-] 0 points by teociontu (29) from Bucharest, Bucuresti 8 years ago

I'm from an ex communist country, we've learned a lot about this manipulation techniques.

Everyday, the communist secret service worked with this kind of tools against us. I smell you from 100 miles.

But, soon, you will be awake too. You will see how beautiful is life when you are free. "You", mean all the trolls from this forum. Enjoy, brothers.

[-] 0 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Uhh any investor knows that publicly traded corporations are required by SEC to file earnings reports. Private corporations send out earnings/expense reports to its investors, board and by request as well.

I am respecting the right for OWS to keep identities of the Finance committee "anonymous" by asking them to post all of the financial data here. That way we are all accountable together.

I already donated money early on before the movement gained the steam that it has. I'd venture to say I was among the first $10k they collected as I was in NYC for the entire month of September as things were getting started there.

And your last part about being distrustful....did you miss where that's the entire basis of this forum topic? I created a thread (this one, that we're in right now) where the very point is to state that I don't "just trust" how OWS is using the funds. That is why I am demanding transparency. I'm not sure I'm getting your point at all now.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

still nada

[-] 1 points by Joyce (375) 8 years ago

Oh how $$$$$ corrupts....lol.

[-] 1 points by socceronly (102) 8 years ago

Any one care to comment on the 'legality' of taking the money? I don't mean this in a malfeasance sense. But that there is no organization, registered charity ect.. if it goes to one person can they go after them for taxes ect... I wonder if keeping it quiet has something to do with that. I don't know how those things work, perhaps someone could elaborate.

[-] 1 points by GetOnTheLoveTrain (4) from Orem, UT 8 years ago

These long posts are too difficult to navigate. It doesn't seem very user friendly to have to scroll down and look for the newest posts...

[-] 1 points by GetOnTheLoveTrain (4) from Orem, UT 8 years ago

And the accounting should happen NOW before more money comes in and it gets too difficult to untangle it all. I am actually quite stunned the accounting didn't start from the beginning. Nobody, would run a small business like that and I wouldn't dream about being so lax with my own personal finances.... Criminy. I was thinking about sending something in but will wait until this issue is addressed. P.S. I'm new to the forums... why don't the comments run in chronological order?

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Agreed 100%

As for the forum sorting...it works in two layers.

1) Sort by "points". The little arrows to the left of your name determine the points your post has. Other users can vote it up or down by 1 point each.

If multiple posts have the same number of points, then the sort is by

2) Chronological order.

[-] 1 points by GetOnTheLoveTrain (4) from Orem, UT 8 years ago

There should absolutely be an accounting of ALL the money. You can't tell me there isn't an out of work accountant out there willing to set it up. Once set up it shouldn't be hard to maintain.... It is very naive to just "trust" the money is going where it should." Or "trust" all the money coming in is accounted for.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Exactly. I heard some objection over "the amount of time it would take" for someone to compile and keep compiling all of this data. To that I say - if you don't have "the time" to be accountable for the money, don't collect it in the first place.

A weekly updated Google doc of incoming donations by name/amount and outgoing expenses should be mandatory and something the public can access via the official site (here).

[-] 1 points by barb (835) 8 years ago

If the protestors cannot walk their talk by publishing their financial records, how are we to take them seriously and have the desire to help them?

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

It's as if OWS is purposefully plotting to drive all moderates away from the movement. No leadership, no demands, no action plan, no accountability. That's about all OWS stands for anymore in my eyes. A wasted opportunity.

And the worst part is, a lucky few will walk away having made some $$$ off of all these donations. Wish I could take mine I made in early Sept back.

[-] 1 points by StevenRoyal (490) from Dania Beach, FL 8 years ago

Because they're trying to hide the fact that they are being paid for by Ron Paul's Ameros.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

And the fact that a few people, the 1% of OWS, are actually making money on this protest!

[-] 1 points by StevenRoyal (490) from Dania Beach, FL 8 years ago

Obviously! Why else would they using Ameros? It is all part of an evil plot to buy more derivatives and CDO's.

[-] 1 points by Notconfusedanymore (62) 8 years ago

There is no transparency for one it is corrupt: Proof: http://www.occupyr.com/General/thread.php?id=200

Secondly because Occupy Wall Street teamed up with the Alliance For Global Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group, to receive tax-deductible donations. The Alliance for Global Justice (AGJ) is a Washington, D.C.-based charity that promotes opposition to free-market capitalism, particularly in Latin America, under the cover of engaging in “education on human, environmental and worker rights.” AGJ underwrites and publicizes the activities of revolutionary Marxist movements from Nicaragua to Mexico and trains young activists to work toward its distinctly radical conception of “economic justice.” In addition to its efforts to stoke revolution in other countries, AGJ also funds revolutionary groups within the United States. For instance, it is the main financial sponsor of World Can’t Wait, a direct-action movement affiliated with the Revolutionary Communist Party.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Wow. That is infuriating. Thank you for posting the link...

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

The donations just keep coming in. $500,000 now and still no one cares.

Laughable.

[-] 1 points by OCCUPYTV (6) 8 years ago

People managing the OWS money and their record... http://www.charitynavigator.org/...h.summary&orgid=624

Not looking good 92% go to operating costs. o% transparency

[-] 1 points by OCCUPYTV (6) 8 years ago

Hello this is OccupyTV. We have some questions for the finance team. Who is managing the 500K raised so far? Where are the receipts for spending? Where is the balance sheets? Why is this not posted online for ALL to see? Where is the transparency? Why is it not being distributed to other occupy locations that have not been able to raise money? We are not the only ones posing this question. Our viewers have been asking this for days now. If all this is not transparent, well then that is a huge issue and needs to be addressed immediately.

We would like to speak with someone from finance and interview ASAP!

OccupyTV www.livestream.com/occupytv

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Bring accountability to OWS. Demand transparency.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Let's demand an official Finance section here where we can all see how our donations are being used!

[-] 1 points by FSitter (2) 8 years ago

Does ows reject contributions from corporations? Just wondering.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

I'm not entirely sure. Just tried searching for this information and couldn't find it on the site.

Yet another reason we really need full transparency on what's going on with all of this money.

Why is there no official voice present on these forums to address this?

[Removed]

[-] 1 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 8 years ago

its not for any nefarious reason probably, its more likely due to incompetence and disorganization. either that or the money really is going to some 1 percenter some where.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

I agree that it's likely not nefarious.

But 'being disorganized' is not excuse enough for me to not know what was done with my donation. Sorry.

[-] 1 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 8 years ago

i agree. its a giant mess.

[-] 1 points by anotherone773 (734) from Carlyle, IL 8 years ago

You can keep tabs on some treasury stuff from the GA minutes. It is more transparent than you think . This site Occupywallstreet is just a support site.

The site with more technical info is : http://nycga.cc/

"Peta from finance – working hard on account statements trying to balance everything by Friday. -putting together forums, coordinate internally within groups.

Point of process: requests on finance to email: owswishlist@gmail.com

Raised 214k online, little over 4000 donors, average donation about $47 dollars, 80k on site donations – main expenses are food, sanitation, comfort"

-From part of the finance minutes

[-] 2 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

I agree you can glean certain details here and there from the minutes but that isn't my point.

If we want to "clean up" wall st and make them accountable, we need to start by example.

Would it really be too much to appoint a team of "treasurers" (out of the protestors who have left their jobs or don't have jobs) and ask them to dutifully update a master spreadsheet of all incoming donations & outgoing expenses?

We all know spends need to happen for food, sanitation and "comfort". But some of us want to know the specifics and I think we are entitled.

[-] 0 points by anotherone773 (734) from Carlyle, IL 8 years ago

http://ga.loudfeed.org/home/

That is the site they are creating.

"Would it really be too much to appoint a team of "treasurers" " - They have this already

"ask them to dutifully update a master spreadsheet of all incoming donations & outgoing expenses?" - they have a lot do. Do you know how much stuff they get a day and have to keep track of? Plus the outgoing.

"We all know spends need to happen for food, sanitation and "comfort". But some of us want to know the specifics and I think we are entitled" -Democracies work slow. Members have to agree on something and how to go about it. It takes time to iron out details.

Over all democratic governments are very inefficient. They require a lot of work to get anywhere. But they best represent the people. You will just have to be patient.

[-] 0 points by Rob (881) 8 years ago

What is your taxpayer status? have you files the proper non-profit forms? If not, who's name is receiving the benefit because there is a tax liability due every quarter.

[-] 1 points by dv8 (25) 8 years ago

It's being funneled through a different charity at the moment - I forget the name. Check the GA minutes. I think the group is applying for its own non-profit status. I think receiving the funds is probably clean, but the transparency of how the funds are being used is a bit sketchy. There have been allegations of misappropriation of funds (which is fraud and a crime) and also talk of using the funds for the comfort of a small minority (6 "full time occupiers"). It's only a matter of time before some in this "leaderless" movement begin collecting a "fair" wage of their "hard work". Money and power corrupts - welcome to the real world.

[-] 1 points by anotherone773 (734) from Carlyle, IL 8 years ago

Dont look at me. I dont run the show i am just here for the intellectual conversations and the change.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Keep bumping this up. Don't let the fact that OWS has collected HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars with zero accountability get buried in all of our partisan bickering.

[-] 1 points by precipice (220) 8 years ago

let's set a good example for the government. 100% transparency.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

How much has OWS raised so far? I just heard $225,000 on CNBC.

Does nobody else care?

[-] 1 points by precipice (220) 8 years ago

We're setting up a Treasury section with democratic voting on appropriation of funds. Take a look here http://www.occupyr.com/Treasury/

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Thanks for the link and that's a great idea you guys have there.

But I think what I'm asking for is a little bit different here. The latest reported numbers on the $$$ donated is upwards of $150-200k.

The public deserves to know exactly where all of the money is going in a fully transparent fashion.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

So with the recent victory in NYC & the march tomorrow, surely donations are at an all-time peak for OWS.

Does no one else care about seeing where this money goes?

Every penny donated & expense should be in a public Google spreadsheet to give this movement credibility to donors!

[-] 1 points by 8472ofborg (100) from Bruce, SD 8 years ago

If it is feasible, it would be wonderful.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

What is not feasible? They have people on the ground who are actively receiving all of the donations, that's for sure. Unless someone walks up to OWS and hands them cash, there will be some way to document at least a partial name of who sent it in.

Would it be that much of a hassle for the people ingesting the donations to keep a list and pass it over to the web admins once a day to update & post here?

I would think this would be helpful to OWS more than anything, as they'd have once central place to track all of their finances. I'm sure many, like me, are interested to see how it's being spent as well.

[-] 1 points by neynja65 (6) from Houston, TX 8 years ago

I agree. I think that this is important. I'm not so sure that our own transparency is quite as crucial right now (we need to take money where we can get it). But it would be nice so that we didn't have a Tea Party situation going on with the billionare brothers and their contributions coming out later. The important transparency areas are congressional spending and the FED.

[-] 2 points by LearnSomeHistory (58) 8 years ago

I we demand that the government should be transparent, we should be transparent ourselves.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

This is exactly what I'm worried about. It would be good to let the whole world know that every dollar donated is accounted for and the donators publicly acknowledged. Would probably make some organizations that aren't 100% aligned with OWS think twice about donating large sums to gain influence or a voice within the movement to derail it.

[-] 1 points by neynja65 (6) from Houston, TX 8 years ago

Yes, but you have to balance pragmatism with ideology at some point. The kind of people that we DON'T want donating to us, are probably not going to be the people that do. But I am not against you, I think that all public/governmental spending needs to be transparent and documented. Along with any kind of political action group or social change group.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Totally agree with you and I would hope that anyone against the movement wouldn't be foolish enough to try to influence it with money....but then we're talking about folks who spend $4.6mm to buy the police force to make sure they can get to work without dirtying up their limos. I just know that when money is involved, I trust only what I can see.

[-] 1 points by LearnSomeHistory (58) 8 years ago

Transparency is very important.

[-] 1 points by talentmoney (5) 8 years ago

totally agree - walk the talk make a role model

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Thanks, guess only a handful of us agree. Everyone else would rather just yell at each other or trolls.

[-] 0 points by SmallBizGuy (378) from Savannah, GA 8 years ago

Is OWS becoming the people that they are warning us about?

[-] 0 points by RantCasey (782) from Saginaw, MI 8 years ago

If you want to know onsite funds go to wall st and ask them don't sit here and claim there isn't transparency. 500,000 dollars isn't that much money people honestly??? Between feeding people every day and running costs it isn't much. Give them a chance to figure it out. Or go down there and help them.

[-] 0 points by OCCUPYTV (6) 8 years ago

Hello this is OccupyTV. We have some questions for the finance team. Who is managing the 500K raised so far? Where are the receipts for spending? Where is the balance sheets? Why is this not posted online for ALL to see? Where is the transparency? Why is it not being distributed to other occupy locations that have not been able to raise money? We are not the only ones posing this question. Our viewers have been asking this for days now. If all this is not transparent, well then that is a huge issue and needs to be addressed immediately.

We would like to speak with someone from finance and interview ASAP!

OccupyTV www.livestream.com/occupytv

[-] 2 points by StevenRoyal (490) from Dania Beach, FL 8 years ago

Hello this is "OccupyTV" and I'm not who I say I am.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

What does that matter? And for that matter, how can you prove that anyone is really who they say they are on this forum?

Even if every donation is anonymous, we want to see them itemized and accounted for. Same for expenses.

[-] 0 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Thanks for posting OccupyTV.

Sadly, I haven't really seen any moderation on this board whatsoever so this thread is likely futile.

But I'm going to keep trying.

Being anything less than 100% transparent with finances when that's what OWS is demanding is a disgrace.

[-] 1 points by OCCUPYTV (6) 8 years ago

I Agree

People managing the OWS money and their record... http://www.charitynavigator.org/...h.summary&orgid=624 not looking good

[-] 0 points by frankchurch1 (839) from Jersey City, NJ 8 years ago

jbell doesn't care about all the graft in Washington/Wall Street, but he cares about a lousy six figures.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

I care about the graft that was created due to unfair influence of corporations on politicians - but not "the graft" as a general concept. You're absolutely right about that.

What does that have to do with OWS being accountable for the exact same thing they're crusading for?

You can hash it out with me in a different thread if you'd like...but unlike OWS, I'd like to keep a laser-like focus here and demand just one thing.

[-] 1 points by frankchurch1 (839) from Jersey City, NJ 8 years ago

But there are more than one thing.

[-] 0 points by marcxstar (167) from Los Angeles, CA 8 years ago

Transparency should be mandatory.

[-] 1 points by jbell78 (152) 8 years ago

Agreed!

[-] 0 points by MikeLobo (67) 8 years ago

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtains