Posted by Donald M on September 8, 2007 4:18 PM (e)
Clearly this LifeWorks Foundation was a private foundation. The grantors of these types of foundations don’t have to have any application process at all and are free to make grants to whomever they wish, as long as the recipients meet the qualifications established by the IRS, which clearly Baylor does. It matters not one whit if Dembski and Allen or Marks and Allen are friends or not.</quote>
If you give a grant to a University and specify the recipients, you look to the relationship of the recipients of the grant to apply the self-dealing rules through the step-transaction doctrine. In short, your explanation seems technically right, if Baylor were the intended recipient, but wrong because it is the end grantee in this area.
<quote>It is sometimes (though not often) the case with private foundations that the granters approach the potential recipient first because they’ve heard of a specific project or cause in which they have an interest.
In short there’s nothing out of the ordinary or “fishy” here. I see nothing suspicious in the 990 either…looks just like the hundreds of others I’ve looked at over the years. I know of a few private foundations that believed so strongly in something that they opted to give from their corpus and not just the earnings of their foundation. If Allen wanted to reduce his principle by $500k to support the DI, more power to him. Allen may have had personal financial reasons to give away the foundation. That’s between him, his CPA and the IRS.</quote>
Not quite. A private foundation can pretty much do anything it wants with its money. Except for self-dealing with disqualified individuals, hold more than 20% of the private stock of a corporation, spending money on political or lobbying causes or engage in imprudent and speculative investing. It's the exceptions that make things interesting, not the permissions.
So the question remains, and you don't address anywhere in your post, was there improper self-dealing? Did Baylor believe there was improper self-dealing? Do you have any facts to support your indictment against Baylor in light that there could have very well been some improper self-dealing (direct or step-transaction)?
As for Baylor, I can see them legitimately returning the money. Intelligent Design is a political cause, not a scientific cause. This would give Baylor every right to return the money for two reasons - 1. It would be tainted from a prohibited transaction (politics) and 2. would serve to drag Baylor into politics (which is prohibited to Baylor) and would threaten the institution's tax exempt status.
I don't know whether Baylor terminated this project and returned the grant because of self-dealing, or they just feel that the entire ID movement is political, or Baylor decided to make sure it wasn't affiliated with plain old bullshit. But attacking Baylor and claiming they're giving themselves "black eyes" without understanding and accounting for ALL of the rules that govern Private Foundations and Exempt Organizations is a load of crap.
As we can see from their behavior and Kitzmiller ID is a political movement repackaging creationism. Any University that enjoys Tax Exempt status would be well within their rights to avoid being drug into prohibited political activities. And that, more than any claim of political (which I find ironic) and/or scientific persecution, seems to be the most logical speculative explanation without being privy to all the facts.