Who Funds Pro-Amnesty ANSWER Group?

Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), one of the groups involved in promoting the planned May Day protest and recent rallies of illegal aliens against the House immigration reform proposal, has strong ties to the Marxist World Worker’s Party but maintains a low profile by operating through an unassuming 501(c)3 group whose funding sources are difficult to trace.

ANSWER was created on Sept. 14, 2001, to protest the use of violence in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. At the recent immigration rallies it distributed high-contrast black and yellow signs that said “Amnistia-Full Rights for All Immigrants” followed by the group’s website

ANSWER is calling for “immediate and unconditional amnesty … with no delays or complicated application process” as well as the jailing of “anti-immigrant vigilantes like the racist Minuteman,” says the website. “They [U.S. politicians] are terrorizing and criminalizing immigrants through repressive legislation, like the racist Sensenbrenner Bill, HR 4437, while instructing police to carry out arbitrary arrests, raids and deportations.”

Stalin-Era Soviets

Herbert Romerstein, a retired long-time Republican aide to congressional intelligence committees, wrote in Human Events on Jan. 24, 2003, that ANSWER was essentially “a core group in the United States of the Workers World Party.” Even the New York Times reported: “Some of the group’s chief organizers are active in Workers World Party, a radical Socialist group with roots in the Stalin-era Soviet Union.”

Phone calls to ANSWER’s offices attempting to find out how the organization is funded were not returned. The donations page on the group’s website says that contributions made by check to ANSWER should be made out to a tax-exempt California non-profit called the Progress Unity Fund (PUF). This group and ANSWER list the same San Francisco office address.

David Hogberg of the Capital Research Center said that because ANSWER donations are given to PUF, the only disclosure obligations ANSWER has are fulfilled by PUF’s filings.

Since ANSWER’s inception, PUF has given $147,987 to ANSWER as revealed on their IRS Form 990, a hefty amount considering PUF generated only $219,370 in revenue in 2004. PUF and similar entities are required to disclose their gross income on their 990, but not the sources of their funding.

PUF’s 990 also lists Brenda Sanburg, Rosa Penate and Keith Pavlik as officers of the organization, all three of whom have written for the WWP’s publication, Workers World. Deirdre Griswold, also active in ANSWER, is the daughter of Vincent Copeland, who co-founded the WWP. She ran for President as the Workers World Party candidate in 1981, receiving 13,200 votes nationwide.

Radical Vision

But just looking at ANSWER’s website reveals its radical vision. The members of ANSWER’s steering committee include the pro-Castro Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Korea Truth Commission, which held a mock war crimes tribunal against the United States military, and the Mexico Solidarity Network, which expressed solidarity with the Zapatistas who led an armed rebellion against the Mexican government after NAFTA.

The Progress Unity Fund also funds the International Action Center, led by former Atty. Gen. Ramsey Clark, who recently joined Saddam Hussein’s legal defense team. ANSWER and the IAC have worked closely together, at one point sharing the same New York address.

ANSWER also received money from a wealthy “social justice philanthropy,” called the Vanguard Public Foundation, which is also connected to PUF through grant exchanges. VPF gave ANSWER $7,000 directly in 2004 and gave PUF and IAC lump grants totaling $11,250 from 2002-2003. VPF has also sponsored anti-war protests that ANSWER supported. In 2002, VPF donated $116,391 to an anti-war march on Feb. 16, 2002, and $69,535 towards “Stop the War Marches” in March 2003.

The Alliance for Global Justice, an anti-free trade organization that focuses on Latin America, has given ANSWER $28,958. ANSWER, AGJ and the Mexico Solidarity Network also share the same Washington, D.C., office.