Serious questions have been raised since Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced that he would donate" 99% of his stake in Facebook shares to a new LLC he had formed with his wife Priscilla Chan.
Zuckerberg, perhaps surprised that everyone is not as gullible as the Winklevoss twins, has returned to Facebook with a clarifying statement about the "donation."
With this clarification, it is clear that there is nothing special about the LLC. It is just a typical LLC where all income and capital gains recognized will flow through to Zuckerberg and his wife on their personal tax forms. Thus, the use of the term "donate," is extremely odd and suggests a PR stunt gone bad.
Not only is this not a donation in the typical sense of the word where money is given up for good works, and generally where control of the funds donated are lost, but the money "donated" to the Zuckerberg LLC will be making many traditional investments.
The new Zuckerberg statement makes this clear (my emphasis):
Since we announced this a couple days ago, many people have asked about what we're planning to focus on and how we're structuring our work.
Our initial focus areas are personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities. We've already made many investments over the past five years in these areas -- education, science, health, internet access and inclusion -- and you can see a summary of our investments on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative page timeline.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is structured as an LLC rather than a traditional foundation. This enables us to pursue our mission by funding non-profit organizations, making private investments and participating in policy debates -- in each case with the goal of generating a positive impact in areas of great need. Any net profits from investments will also be used to advance this mission.
But this "mission" includes further for-profit investments. Zuckerberg directs us to a Facebook page which identifies actions already taken by the LLC:
If you're interested in following the philanthropy work we're doing with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, I encourage you to like the page...
When one goes to the "philanthropy" page, one finds a timeline of investments that include many that are best considered global crony investments (my emphasis)
Finding clean energy solutions is essential to solving climate change and building a better world. In partnership with Bill Gates and 25 other private investors from 10 countries, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition announced that it will invest in early-stage energy companies to get innovation out of the lab and into the marketplace with scalable technologies. The announcement was timed with the U.N. Climate Control Conference in Paris.
As part of our commitment to personalized learning, we invested $5 million in MasteryConnect to support K-12 educators as they adopt competency-based learning in the classroom
Tech Crunch tells us that MasteryConnect in:
International schools use the applications and software to follow the International Baccalaureate curriculum, while in the U.S. the adoption of common core standards have driven adoption.
CommonCore, of course, is about indoctrinating all students in government designed education. From Wikipedia:
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an educational initiative in the United States that details what K–12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers...
The LLC does also make some traditional-type donations and provide some grants, but what Zuckerberg and his wife have here is far from a normal philanthropic organization and it is extremely disturbing that his investments appear to have a global nature to them in areas where governments are extremely active---Active in ways that suggest plenty of opportunities for cronyism and for the manipulation of the masses in directions that governments desire--- and governments at this level mean the crony elite such as Zuckerberg and Gates, who apparently get a kick out of attempting to mold the world to their liking and figure out slick ways to coerce everyone else to march in lockstep.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher at EconomicPolicyJournal.com and at Target Liberty. He is also author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics