Sharon McNary, a KPCC political reporter, unfolded her story on Twitter, which is fitting I guess since it began with her looking at VP candidate-designate Paul Ryan's Twitter account and becoming curious that he follows just one other account. That is @nationaldebt, which is the feed of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, named for the billionaire who funded it to campaign for lowering of the national debt.
The site is chock full of info about the causes and peril of our national debt. Nice looking web site, appears to be non-partisan. I’m interested. I want to learn more. And these are some really transparent folks. They put their federal nonprofit tax exemption report — called a Form 990 — right on their "About Us" page.
Now, you need to know this about me — I cannot resist looking at Form 990s. It’s like looking at a tax return, but because nonprofits are exempt from taxes, they have to tell the government and public about all the things they are doing to deserve that exemption. That includes disclosing income, big donors in some cases and the highest-paid employees.
@KPCCsharon Wow. @nationaldebt's Form 990 at pgpf.org says the non-partisan org has nearly $479mm in total assets.
That is a big bunch of money, I think. Wow, their public relations person makes a few hundred thousand per year more than I do. I gotta know more about these people and this foundation.
The website also lists an advisory board. It’s got big names you’d recognize, including journalist Leslie Stahl. She wouldn’t plaster her name on just anything, right?
She goes on to link Ryan and Peterson, and to muse on the connections to Romney.
After a commenter praises her "stream of consciousness/journalism," McNary replies: "Thanks, it's something that I very rarely do in public, but we're trying to be more transparent in reporting when appropriate."