Alford answer IRSRecently, Checks and Balances Project referred the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for potential abuses of its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. When the item ran in POLITICO Influence, NBCC President Harry C. Alford was quoted as saying that he desired a “constructive dialogue.”

Although his desire for a positive discussion differs from Mr. Alford’s hostility when I last attempted to ask him questions about the NBCC’s membership, staffing and its relationship with the fossil fuel and utility industries, I take him at his word.

A Letter to Alford

That’s why Checks and Balances recently sent Mr. Alford a letter asking for a meeting. If he accepts my offer, I’ll ask him the same questions I’ve attempted to ask three times previously. And, if he’s willing, we could also discuss his climate denial and acceptance of money from fossil fuel interests.

Mr. Alford’s position as a credible authority to politicians and the media rests on his repeated claims – under oath to Congress, in the media and online – to represent hundreds of thousands or millions of black-owned businesses. Our research into his Congressional testimony and the NBCC’s IRS tax filings sharply contradict that claim.

So, with that in mind, I look forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue with Mr. Alford that will help our readers better understand the NBCC and its work.

Five Basic Questions

If you have an opportunity to converse or interview Mr. Alford before I do, I encourage you to ask him for answers to five basic questions about his organization:

  1. How many members does the NBCC actually have?
  2. Who are those members?
  3. Why does so much of his budget go to consultants?
  4. Who are the consultants?
  5. Who occupies staff positions beyond his immediate family?

Updates will be forthcoming.

You can read our letter to Harry Alford HERE.


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Evlondo Cooper is a senior fellow with Checks and Balances Project, a national watchdog blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from pro-clean energy philanthropies and donors.