Out of Compliance: Nonprofit with ties to Stevens’ PAC, Tardy on Paperwork and Fees to the State of Alaska


An Alaskan nonprofit foundation that raises money to make the records and mementos of Sen. [Ted] Stevens’ career in public service” has failed to file registration documents or pay fees since 2004, according to the Alaska Department of Law. In response to a FOIA request to the department for all documents filed by the Ted Stevens Foundation (recently renamed the North to the Future Foundation), we received papers filed in 2003 and were told by department officials that none had been filed since then.

Any organization that is raising funds in the state of Alaska has to file registration forms, a copy of its form 990 — the tax return nonprofits file with the Internal Revenue Service — and pay a registration fee to the state. If they are a charitable organization that is going to solicit funds they are supposed to file a registration form with the Alaska Department of Law,” Linda Turrini, an investigator with the state Inspector General’s office said.

A former official of the Ted Stevens Foundation acknowledged not filing documents as an oversight in an e-mail exchange. Your original e-mail alerted us that through an oversight our charitable registration has lapsed,” wrote Timothy McKeever, who was the chairman of the foundation until last year and is currently treasurer for Stevens’ 2008 senatorial campaign committee. We have sent the state a new registration form and the fee. We have also asked for guidance on how to resolve any issues for the years when we did not register and await the response.”

According to McKeever, the foundation was originally formed in 2000 but did not become active until 2003.”

The documents we received from Alaska indicate that in 2002, the Ted Stevens Foundation received a donation from the senator’s 527 Committee, the Northern Lights PAC. Until the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act — better known as McCain Feingold — took effect in November 2002, members of Congress could have their own 527s, which could raise unlimited sums from individuals, corporations, or labor unions. Stevens’ 527, for example, took in $25,000 directly from Veco Corp., which has lately made headlines in Alaska. Two of the firm’s top executives pled guilty to bribing a group of Alaska state lawmakers, including the Steven’s son, Ben.

In 2002, the Ted Stevens Foundation had total revenue of $55,000, of which $45,000 came from Stevens’ 527. In keeping with McKeever’s statement, the 990s that the foundation filed with the IRS reflect a sharp increase in the money coming into the foundation after 2003. The organization revealed their net assets to be at $1.7 million in 2004 and $2.3 million in 2005 compared to just over $144,000 in 2003.

It is impossible to identify who is contributing to a nonprofit like the Ted Stevens Foundation. The part of the 990 available for public inspection discloses information on the various disbursements made by a nonprofit during an accounting year, but does not disclose names of donors.

The 990 forms for the Ted Stevens Foundation report that the foundation was set up to assist in educating and informing the public about the career of Senator Ted Stevens, to make grants to other public charities and to provide programs which educate, encourage communication, relieve poverty and promote community welfare throughout the state of Alaska and the United States.”

Between 2003 and 2005 the foundation has spent more than $380,000 on fundraisers but has given out only two grants: one for $40,000 to the Smithsonian Institute in 2004 and $10,000 to the Anchorage Rowing Association in 2005, according to the 990s.

In December 2006 the Ted Stevens Foundation changed its name to the North to the Future Foundation, this time its namesake being Alaska‘s motto, according documents filed with the Alaskan Department of Commerce. In the same year they also filed a change of leadership, with Tim McKeever handing over the reigns to Edith Opinsky.

I am not involved in the Northern Lights PAC but I understand that it is legal for a PAC to donate to a charity… [Sen. Stevens] has no role in the activities of the foundation, has no say in what it does, the donations it makes and the like,” McKeever wrote in response to our questions.

McKeever is an attorney with Holmes, Weddle & Barcott, a law firm in Alaska and was a registered lobbyist until 2006. The address and the phone number for the Ted Stevens Foundation is the same as that of the law firm.