Controversial conservative Black businessman Ward Connerly is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and California Attorney General Kamala Harris, according to the Los Angeles Times and New York Times. Connerly has lead efforts to end affirmative action nationwide.
The accusations of financial mismanagement come from former employee Jennifer Gratz, the plaintiff in the landmark 2003 Supreme Court case that struck down race-based admissions at the University of Michigan.
In the letter, sent by her attorney to the board of Connerly's American Civil Rights Institute, Gratz said the organization and an affiliated advocacy group were in financial crisis. She urged the board to look into irregularities, including annual compensation to Connerly that in recent years amounted to more than $1 million. The letter also said that the Internal Revenue Service and California attorney general's office were investigating related salary, financial and ethical issues involving Connerly's organizations. ...
In an interview Wednesday, Connerly, 72, acknowledged that the American Civil Rights Institute has had financial difficulty in recent years, and that his annual compensation at times has amounted to more than half its revenues. Tax records show that Connerly reported $1.3 million in total compensation for the fiscal year ending June 2010, for example.
Gratz and Connerly worked together for the passage of Michigan's Proposal 2, which "banned race and gender preferences in public education, public hiring and public contracting. Proposal 2 was passed by Michigan voters in 2006 but overturned in an appeals court ruling last year," reports AnnArbor.com.
The former University of California regent gained nationwide attention in 1995 after supporting a successful ballot initiative barring California's public institutions from considering race or gender. In recent years Connerly has publicly supported gay rights and marriage equality. The Black conservative first came out for gay rights in July 2008. Four months later Connerly wrote an op-ed against Proposition 8.