Celebrations for Children Inc.
According to the December 4, 2003, complaint filed against Celebrations for Children Inc. with the Internal Revenue Service by Common Cause, the organization is "a newly incorporated entity recently formed under the auspices, and by associates, of Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), the majority leader of the House of Representatives, who is closely associated with the organization. CfC is purportedly organized for the purpose of raising funds to make donations to other charitable groups that provide services on behalf of disadvantaged children." 
The complaint continues to say that "Published reports indicate, however, that CfC is instead being used as a vehicle to fund Rep. DeLay's political operations and to provide donor maintenance services for activities inextricably linked to the Republican National Convention to be held this summer in New York City. ... In 2000, Rep. DeLay used a soft money political committee, Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee, or ARMPAC, to fund similar activities at the Republican Convention held that year in Philadelphia." 
"This time," according to the complaint, "CfC is being used by Rep. DeLay as the vehicle to once again provide convention-related perks and amenities to donors and Members of Congress for the 2004 Republican Convention. CfC is providing elaborate convention-related benefits to its donors, and is offering "package" deals, with the benefits scaled to the size of the contributions, just as ARMPAC did for the 2000 convention. A fundraising brochure issued by CfC details the packages. The brochure is entitled 'Donor Packages for the 2004 Republican National Convention,' leaving no question about the tie between CfC and its convention-related activities. Indeed, the brochure states that CfC's 'Marquee event for 2004' will be 'events at the Republican National Convention in New York City.' The 'net' proceeds, according to the brochure, 'will be disbursed to charities dedicated to abused and neglected children,' but press reports have stated that the donations made to CfC will be used to defray the costs of the convention-related events: '[A]ides to Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader from Texas, acknowledged that part of the money [donated to CfC] would go to pay for late-night convention parties, a luxury suite during President Bush's speech at Madison Square Garden and yacht cruises.' The 'donor packages' range from a contribution of $10,000 (the so-called 'Greenwich Village' package) to $500,000 (the 'Upper East Side'). The benefits include a 'luxury suite for Members, Senators, Executive Branch and CfC Sponsors' to watch President Bush's speech to the convention, 'private dinners' with Rep. DeLay, a 'Members reception' during the President's speech, tickets to a golf tournament, tickets to Broadway shows and 'a private yacht cruise with TD [Tom DeLay].'" 
Common Cause's position is that "it is clear that [CfC]]'s application for charitable status under section 501(c)(3) should be denied, or if already granted, revoked." 
November 15, 2003: "Mr. DeLay's charity, Celebrations for Children Inc., was set up in September and has no track record of work. Mr. DeLay is not a formal official of the charity, but its managers are Mr. DeLay's daughter, Dani DeLay Ferro; Craig Richardson, a longtime adviser; and Rob Jennings, a Republican fund-raiser. Mr. Richardson said the managers would be paid by the new charity. 
"Mr. Richardson said the goal was to give 75 percent of the money it raised to children's charities, including some in the New York area. He said the charity also planned to hold other events at the Super Bowl. 
"But because the money collected will go into a nonprofit organization, donors get a tax break. And Mr. DeLay will never have to account publicly for who contributed, which campaign finance experts say shields those who may be trying to win favor with one of the most powerful lawmakers in Washington." 
- Bush-Cheney '04 Inc.
- Bush administration scandals
- DeLay Foundation for Kids
- George W. Bush: U.S. Presidential Campaign 2004
- soft money groups
- U.S. presidential election, 2004
- U.S. presidential election, 2004: Active Advocacy Groups
- George Loper, "National Republican Convention: Tom DeLay Solicits Money for Charity Tied to Convention,", loper.org, November 2003.
- "GOP's DeLay Using Kids To Get $$$?," CBS News, November 14, 2003.
- Michael Slackman, "G.O.P. Leader Solicits Money For Charity Tied to Convention," New York Times, November 14, 2003.
- Suzanne Gamboa, "DeLay Charity Raises Money for GOP Events," AP, November 14, 2003.
- Charles Kuffner, "Tom DeLay exploits children for political contributions,", OfftheKuff, November 14, 2003.
- "Mr. DeLay's Children," Washington Post, November 16, 2003: "Leave it to Mr. DeLay to find the loophole -- and a particularly repulsive one. With soft money off limits, Mr. DeLay has turned to charitable dollars instead, as Roll Call reported last week. From the donors' point of view, this approach has its benefits. They won't have their names disclosed, even as they curry favor. They get tax deductions, which isn't true of political contributions. And, for writing checks to 'Celebrations for Children,' they will get invitations to late-night parties, Broadway shows, a golf tournament and a luxury suite to watch President Bush's acceptance speech at the New York City convention. A $500,000 'Upper East Side' package entitles donors to a private dinner with Mr. DeLay before and after the convention, a yacht cruise with Mr. DeLay and other perks. The proceeds will go to charities for abused and neglected children, including Mr. DeLay's own foundation; his office says the charity aims to keep expenses to 25 percent and to net at least $1 million."
- The Hammer Eyes Manhattan, New York Times Op-Ed, November 18, 2003: "Mr. DeLay, dubbed The Hammer, thinks he has found a way around the new law banning soft money contributions from influence-hungry corporate donors, who have long financed galas, dinners and yacht cruises for conventioneers of both parties. ... Mr. DeLay is inviting donors to use a children's charity as a channel to pay up to $500,000 for access to posh convention events. He insists that this is a legal way to float the costs of the political fun. It also secures donors a tax break when some of the money -- most, Mr. DeLay promises -- is spent on abused and neglected children. The Internal Revenue Service had better move quickly to vet this new twist in fat-cat politicking, which critics are denouncing as illegal. If approved, it would probably become a freshet for influence peddling because the donations would be unlimited, undisclosed and unregulated. Democrats might imitate this money mischief."
- "For the children?," Star-Telegram Op-Ed, November 19, 2003: "But it is particularly disturbing that any federal lawmaker would use charitable organizations to circumvent campaign finance statutes at a time when the U.S. Senate has stalled the Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act, the most wide-reaching piece of charitable-giving legislation in more than 10 years. ... Republicans who pony up 'for the children' will not only be part of the "in" crowd at the convention but will get an all-important tax deduction, which is not extended to purely political contributions. ... DeLay gets to keep his donor list anonymous and stymie accountability efforts to see who's buying access to one of the most powerful men in Washington."
- "House Leader Tom DeLay's Political Fundraising in the Name of Charity Concerns Philanthropy Watchdog; NCRP Urges IRS to Deny Tax-Exempt Status," U.S. Newswire, November 20, 2003. Also NCRP Press Release (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy).
- Charles Kuffner, "Your regularly scheduled dose of Tomfoolery," OfftheKuff, November 21, 2003.
- "A new political laundry," Toledo Blade Op-Ed, November 27, 2003.
- John Greeley, "'Leave no child behind,' the President proclaimed; so Tom Delay is shoving children up front to hide campaign contributions," Intervention Magazine, December 1, 2003.
- Michael Slackman, "They'll Take Manhattan: Republicans Drop Ship Idea," New York Times, December 3, 2003.
- Common Cause, Complaint filed against Celebrations for Children, Inc. (CfC), December 5, 2003.
- Charles Kuffner, "DeLay's sham charity attacked," OfftheKuff, December 5, 2003.
- Alexander Bolton, "DeLay to IRS: Kids charity OK," The Hill, December 10, 2003.
- "Supreme Court Upholds Campaign Finance Law," OMB Watcher, December 15, 2003: "The FEC rules exclude organizations exempt under Section 501(c)(3) from these rules because the Internal Revenue Code forbids charitable groups from supporting or opposing candidates for office, either directly or indirectly. Shays and Meehan's legal challenge to this exemption is based on the fear that soft money donors will attempt to abuse 501(c)(3) protection by funneling money through sham charities."
- Thomas B. Edsall, "Republicans exploit foster kids to get around new campaign finance law," Washington Post, January 5, 2004.
- Alex, DeLay Makes False and Misleading Claims, soonerthought, January 10, 2004. Links to Democracy 21 article "Setting the Record Straight: DeLay Makes False and Misleading Claims On Meet the Press to Deflect Attention from His Misuse of 'Charitable' Organization."
- Miriam Hill, "Politicians' nonprofits proliferate. While the organizations do good, critics warn they can be used to circumvent rules governing campaign finance," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 23, 2004.
- Letter to House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct: "Democracy 21 Seeks House Ethics Committee Investigation of Majority Leader Tom DeLay's 'Charity' Scheme; Charges Scheme Violates House Ethics Rules and Urges Members Not to Participate in Scheme at Republican Convention," January 28, 2004. View at Democracy 21 web site.
- Letter to House Members urging them not accept any benefits at the Republican convention that are provided through Celebrations for Children. View at Democracy 21 web site.
- "The Ethics Panel Stirs," New York Times Op-Ed, February 10, 2004. View at Democracy 21 web site.
- Lou Dubose, "Tom DeLay's funny-money trail. The GOP strongman's political machine has stopped at nothing to extend its power. Now it's facing indictments for violating Texas campaign finance laws," Salon, March 12, 2004.
- Charles Babington and Dan Morgan, "Ethics Truce Frays in House," Washington Post, March 17, 2004.
- Charles Babington, "Charity Tied To DeLay Is Questioned. Group Asks Lawmakers To Demand Ethics Probe," Washington Post, March 24, 2004: "Democracy 21 contends that the charity, Celebrations for Children Inc., is a political scheme established to let DeLay raise huge sums from interest groups and supporters to host lavish parties at this summer's Republican National Convention. ... DeLay spokesman Jonathan Grella said at least three-fourths of the charity's income will go to needy children, with the remainder paying for dinners, a golf tournament, a rock concert, Broadway tickets and the other fundraising events DeLay plans to host at the convention in New York City."
- Alexander Bolton, "Two ethics groups dog DeLay charity. Democracy 21, Common Cause seek Hefley ruling," The Hill, March 24, 2004: "Two prominent government watchdog groups turned up the heat yesterday on House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) at a time when a seven-year ethics truce in the House seems to be unraveling. ... One of the groups, Democracy 21, delivered a formal ethics complaint against Celebrations for Children, a charity closely linked to DeLay, to the chairman and ranking members of the Standards of Official Conduct Committee and to members of the Republican and Democratic House leadership."