Jim Wallis has been the subject of some recent blogosphere humor. Hugh Hewitt wrote, "Most folks who receive donations from billionaires tend not to forget them, so pray for Jim Wallis's memory." Scholar William Voegeli wondered whether Sojourners "is drowning in money," since Wallis didn't remember that megabucks leftist George Soros gave $325,000 to his organization. With Jim's denial appearing Clintonian, Baylor's Francis Beckwith imagined Wallis saying, I did not have financial relations with that Soros.
This all grew out of my mention halfway through a July 17 WORLD column that Soros gave money to Sojourners. It didn't seem like a big deal. Of course, Soros would find the religious left useful in drawing evangelical votes from conservatives and electing candidates who support abortion, same-sex marriage, socialism, and other unbiblical causes. Nor was it surprising that Jim, trying to keep his organization afloat, would take the cash. Yet Jim last month told an interviewer twice, "We don't receive money from George Soros."
It's almost an axiom of politics that denials of evidence raise more questions than the original accusation—if the evidence still exists in one form or another. Other people besides myself had seen grants to Sojourners listed on pages in online reports from Soros' Open Society Institute. Jay Richards wrote in National Review Online, "I have physical copies of these pages, which is good, because these pages seem to have disappeared from the OSI website (I'm sure that's just a coincidence)."
The pages had disappeared—an OSI spokeswoman eventually said, "We are overhauling our website"—and that was disappointing, because I wanted people to be able to see for themselves proof of the Soros-Sojourners yoking. What to do? I examined on the Foundation Center website IRS Form 990s filed by Sojourners—but nonprofit groups merely have to list revenue from grants, not spell out their origins.
A stalemate? No, wait—OSI online grant pages were gone, but what about OSI's Form 990 for 2004? (Grantmakers typically list their donations, and IRS forms cannot be so readily scrubbed, right?) Let's look—wow, 283 pages, lots of income statements, various reports, no mention of Sojourners. But then . . . Grants to U.S. Public Charities . . . Yes! On page 225: Sojourners, 2401 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009. "To support the Messaging and Mobilization Project: Engaging Christians on the Importance of Civic Involvement." October 2004: $200,000.