Government Accountability Institute
|$1.7 million (2014)|
The Government Accountability Institute (GAI) is a conservative nonprofit think-tank located in Tallahassee, Florida. GAI was founded in 2012 by Peter Schweizer and Steve Bannon with funding from Robert Mercer and family. Schweizer serves as the group's president. The group is known for its involvement with the publication of the books Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich and Bush Bucks: How Public Service and Corporations Helped Make Jeb Rich.
The stated mission of GAI is to "investigate and expose crony capitalism, misuse of taxpayer monies, and other governmental corruption or malfeasance." According to Bloomberg Businessweek, GAI creates "rigorous, fact-based indictments against major politicians, then partners with mainstream media outlets to disseminate those findings to the broadest audience." Members of GAI's board of directors include Steve Bannon, Peter Schweizer, Hunter Lewis, Ron Robinson (president of Young America's Foundation), and Wynton Hall.
GAI's research methods include analyzing tax filings, flight logs, and foreign government documents as well as engaging in data-mining on the deep web, which includes the 97% of information on the World Wide Web that isn't indexed by traditional search engines.
The organization has most notably been involved with the research and publication of investigative books including Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich and Bush Bucks: How Public Service and Corporations Helped Make Jeb Rich.
Clinton Cash, published in May 2015, is an investigation of donations made to the Clinton Foundation by foreign entities, paid speeches made by Bill and Hillary Clinton, and the Clintons' personal enrichment since leaving the White House in 2001.
Bush Bucks, an e-book published in October 2015, raises questions about the millions of dollars former Florida Governor Jeb Bush earned after leaving office from companies that benefited from Bush's policy while he was serving as Florida's Governor.
In October 2012, GAI released a report which asserted that "campaigns that aggressively raise money online are soliciting donations from people around the world-whether they intend to or not," and asserted that the Obama campaign had lacked "rigorous screening for donors' citizenship" (it is illegal for non-U.S. citizens to contribute to U.S. campaigns). The report provided no evidence that the Obama campaign had received any unlawful contributions.
In December 2013, a GAI analysis found that from July 12, 2010, to November 30, 2013, President Obama's public schedule showed zero one-on-one meetings between Obama and then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, though the study concedes that there was one instance of Secretary Sebelius meeting jointly with the President and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner.
Links to Breitbart News
A November 2016 investigation by The Washington Post detailed ties between the Government Accountability Institute and the conservative website Breitbart News. Three GAI employees received full-time compensation while simultaneously being employed elsewhere. From 2012 to 2015, GAI co-founder and executive chair Steve Bannon received $376,000 for working 30 hours a week. He simultaneously served as executive chairman for Breitbart News. GAI communications strategist Wynton Hall received $600,000 during the same time period. Hall worked as a writer for Breitbart News and was promoted to managing editor in 2013. GAI president and treasurer Peter Schweizer, also an at-large editor and writer for Breitbart News, was paid $778,000 by the GAI from 2012 to 2015.
As a 501(c)(3) public charity, GAI's political advocacy has raised the question of whether the organization had been illegally intervening in political campaigns. The Washington Post report also found that, from 2013 to 2015, GAI purchased over $200,000 in advertising from Breitbart's website. A spokesperson from GAI said that the non-profit had been in "total compliance with all 501(c)3 rules."
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