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Ben & Jerry’s Chairwoman May Have Been Self-Dealing to Her Nonprofit

NLPC’s investigation into Ben & Jerry’s, its charitable foundation, and the anti-Israel think tank it funds continued yesterday with a report from the Washington Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman about Anuradha Mittal‘s critical role with all three entities. Mittal appears to have been violating laws governing self-dealing by acting as a trustee of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation while approving donations to her personal nonprofit where she is executive director taking a full-time salary.

From the Free Beacon:

The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation steered over $170,000 in grants to an anti-Israel nonprofit group run by one of its board directors, a potential violation of self-dealing laws, according to an ethics watchdog organization…

 

The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation grants to the Oakland Institute could run afoul of self-dealing laws, which prohibit private foundations from using funds to benefit their trustees, according to the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group. Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever have been under increased scrutiny since the ice cream company’s July decision to boycott Israel. Several states have moved to divest from Unilever following the backlash.

 

“Rules governing self-dealing are in place to keep even the most honest on the straight and narrow,” said Tom Anderson, director of the National Legal and Policy Center’s Government Integrity Project. “Anuradha Mittal and Ben and Jerry’s have an obligation to adhere to these rules and should immediately be subject to an administrative review of all of their policies and procedures by Unilever. Depending on the outcome an audit may need to be performed to rein in what appears to be an out-of-control [Board of Directors].”

The Free Beacon cites specific IRS law violations stating that “transfer to, or use by or for the benefit of, a disqualified person of the income or assets of a private foundation is an act of self-dealing,” defining a “disqualified person” as “any person who was in a position to exercise substantial influence over the affairs of the applicable tax-exempt organization.”

Sounds like Mittal.

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