Can You Trust Glenn Beck's Mercury One?

Today on his Facebook page, David Barton made a video pitch on behalf of Mercury One, Glenn Beck’s personal charity. Barton is the president of the board for Mercury One. In the appeal, he held up shirts which are being sold to help support Christians who are targeted by ISIS. Barton said Mercury One has helped 12,000 Christians avoid ISIS.
I would really like to believe this. But here’s where it gets real. I can’t trust Barton, so I don’t readily accept that 12,000 people have been helped. In fact, I am posting this with the hope that someone who is associated with Mercury One will offer proof. I also hope my friends in the non-profit oversight sector will look into this.
Why am I skeptical?
Wallbulders was a direct recipient of over $100,000 from Mercury One in both 2013 and 2014. See the 2014 segment of Mercury One’s 990 form below. When Mercury One raises money, Barton gets some of it.
 
Mercury One 2014
Furthermore, these stories of playing basketball at ORU, getting carried to class by police officers at ORU, having an earned doctorate degree without saying where he got it and then taking down the video evidence add up to a skeptical public. It doesn’t seem like a great marketing campaign to have someone who tells stories and then fails to back them up raising money for your charity.

With David Barton as Principal Officer, Non-Profit Mercury One Again Gave $100k to Barton’s Wallbuilders For Disaster Relief

Deja vu all over again. As was true in 2013, Mercury One with David Barton as principal officer and one of three board members gave $100k to David Barton’s Wallbuilders non-profit. Again in 2014, Barton is listed as Mercury One’s principal officer:
Mercury One 990 2014
And as last year, Barton is one of three board members along with Beck associate Joseph Kerry and Beck’s wife Tania.
Mercury One 990 Board 2014
This year Barton got a 4% raise:
mercury one 990 Wallbuilders 2014
See last year’s post for the possible problems with this.
Last year the funds were given to Wallbuilders because of their mission related to history. This year the 990 says “proceeds were used to provide help and resources to individuals affected by unforeseen disasters.” I took a quick Google look for something Wallbuilders did in 2014 or 2015 to help people through “unforeseen disasters” (other than Donald Trump, what disasters are foreseen?) and I couldn’t figure out what Wallbuilders did to help people with disasters (do bad history lessons count?).
Mr. Barton or Rick Green, if your catching up on your Throckmorton blog reading, could you do a Wallbuilders’ program where you outline how Wallbuilders spent over $100k on disaster relief?

With David Barton as Principal Officer, Non-Profit Mercury One Gave $100k to Barton's Wallbuilders

Sometime in 2013, Mercury One, a non-profit founded by Glenn Beck but run by principal officer David Barton, gave $100,000 to Barton’s Wallbuilders, also a non-profit run by Barton. Such gifts appear to be questionable under IRS guidelines addressing gifts which benefit insiders.
Barton founded and is head of Wallbuilders, and was recently tapped to run the Keep the Promise group of Super PACs with over $38 million to spend supporting Ted Cruz.
On Mercury One’s 2013 990 form, Barton is listed in box F as the principal officer:
MercuryOne9902013
 
 
The IRS describes the principal officer (page 9):

For purposes of this item, “principal officer” means an officer of the organization who, regardless of title, has ultimate responsibility for implementing the decisions of the organization’s governing body, or for supervising the management, administration, or operation of the organization.

Thus, if Mercury One filed the 990 properly, Barton has ultimate responsibility for operating the non-profit. Without examining anything else, that is a noteworthy finding.
Barton is also listed as officer along with only two other board members, Glenn Beck’s wife and his longtime attorney and researcher, Joseph Kerry.
MercuryOne9902013board
Certainly by the standards of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, this is an unacceptable composition for a board. None of these people are independent and it seems improper for Kerry to assume three positions. As principal officer, Barton only needs one other person to vote with him to do anything.
Later, the 990 reports that Wallbuilders received $100, 000. This gift accounts for about 7.5% of the income Wallbuilders received in gifts and grants in 2013.
MercuryOne9902013WBGrant
 
 
According to the IRS, non-profits are for the public interest and not private interest.

Private Benefit and Inurement
A public charity is prohibited from allowing more than an insubstantial accrual of private benefit to individuals or organizations. This restriction is to ensure that a tax-exempt organization serves a public interest, not a private one. If a private benefit is more than incidental, it could jeopardize the organization’s tax-exempt status.
No part of an organization’s net earnings may inure to the benefit of an insider. An insider is a person who has a personal or private interest in the activities of the organization such as an officer, director, or a key employee. This means that an organization is prohibited from allowing its income or assets to accrue to insiders. An example of prohibited inurement would include payment of unreasonable compensation to an insider. Any amount of inurement may be grounds for loss of tax-exempt status.
If a public charity provides an economic benefit to any person who is in a position to exercise substantial influence over its affairs (that exceeds the value of any goods or services provided in consideration), the organization has engaged in an excess benefit transaction. A public charity that engages in such a transaction must report it to the IRS. Excise taxes are imposed on any person who engages in an excess benefit transaction with a public charity, and on any organization manager who knowingly approves such a transaction. (See Reporting Excess Benefit Transactions on page 12).

Only the IRS can make a final determination but this transaction looks like it is worth exploring. Barton certainly is an insider at Mercury One and, via Wallbuilders, he benefited from the gift. The $100,000 is almost as much as Barton reported as compensation in 2013.