John Tomasic at the Colorado Independent got tangled up this week with the confused nonprofit and for-profit business operations of freshman Colorado Rep. Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt–whose other job running a far-out Youtube "video ministry" called Pray in Jesus' Name has resulted in nationwide notoriety. Tomasic took a look at publicly searchable records at the Colorado Secretary of State's office, which appear to show Klingenschmitt's nonprofit charity status as "suspended."
Controversial state Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt’s nonprofit “Pray in Jesus [sic] Name” has failed to file the proper paperwork with the state, a lapse that led the Colorado Secretary of State’s office on October 15th of last year to suspend its registration as a charitable organization. Since then, Klingenschmitt’s group has not been legally eligible to solicit or accept donations, which hasn’t stopped it from sending out fundraiser emails and posting videos asking for donations at a regular clip.
“God loves a cheerful giver,” Klingenschmitt says at the end of the most recent episode of his YouTube program, “Pray in Jesus Name News.” Text runs across the bottom of the screen intermittently asking viewers to make donations…
We have no idea how much Klingenschmitt has raised via his Pray in Jesus' Name nonprofit–based on the number of Youtube views his shows receive when not being highlighted by liberals, our guess is not that much. In any event, Tomasic's report on the suspension of Klingenschmitt's nonprofit status provoked an irate response from "Dr. Chaps" personally in the comments of the story.
Yikes! We've never seen "Chaps" mad like that before. Obviously, this prompted a second report from the Independent's Tomasic with more details–details that don't actually help Chaps. Perhaps he should have left bad enough alone?
Klingenschmitt forwarded to The Independent a certificate of good standing “dated today,” he wrote in an email, signed by Secretary of State Wayne Williams. (Pictured here and available for download as a pdf.) Klingenschmitt explained that he filed papers to bring his registration up to date on Saturday, January 24th, 2014, three days ago. But the Secretary’s certificate shows some of the documents were electronically received by the office Tuesday at 2:46 p.m., nearly three hours after the original Colorado Independent story posted.
So, it's quite possible that Klingenschmitt scrambled after this report in the Independent to get his nonprofit status renewed with the Secretary of State–and then informed the Independent with high dudgeon that their report was "false." While that makes his all-caps "cease and desist" demand look kind of silly, it at least gives him a response when asked about this in the future. Except for one remaining problem: Klingenschmitt appears to have continued soliciting nonprofit donations during the period his charity was suspended, which would be a violation of the law:
In an email sent Tuesday, Klingenschmitt explained that the fundraiser emails he has sent out since October 15 and that were cited by The Colorado Independent “come from a totally different for-profit corporation, GJK, Inc., not from the non-profit as you falsely claim.”
Except no, they didn't:
[T]he fundraising emails cited by The Independent do not include reference to GJK, Inc. They do, however, come from an email address with the “prayinjesusname.org” Internet domain. They also include at the top a prominent “Pray in Jesus Name Project” banner (“Sending Petitions to God & Government to Defend Religious Freedom.”) An email sent on December 30 (see image below) asks specifically for donations for the “Pray in Jesus Name Ministries”.
If you clicked on the link in emails from that time period, this is the message you saw on the donation page:
YES! I support your non-profit defense of religious liberty and freedom of Christian expression, broadcasting the gospel on TV-radio-internet, and service to the poor and orphans. To help you protect our right to pray publicly “in Jesus’ name,” and mobilize tens of thousands of people to petition God and government, I’m making my tax-deductible donation to “PRAY IN JESUS NAME MINISTRIES.”
And with that, we do believe "Dr. Chaps" is nailed. Either he was soliciting donations via a suspended nonprofit, or he was grossly misrepresenting "donations" to a for-profit business. And neither of those seems like a model of "what Jesus would do."