Occupy Wall Street looks for an accountant
The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement is looking to hire an accountant. The OWS Accounting Working Group has interviewed four candidates to oversee its finances, members of the group said Tuesday. The accounting committee met last night to discuss its options. The hire, a possible departure from the movement’s decentralized anti-authoritarian style, still has to get approval from the OWS General Assembly.
The movement brought in more than a half-million dollars in donations last fall. And though donations have slowed to a trickle since then, it still has about $230,000 and a new $100,000 bail fund for jailed members. OWS has faced numerous squabbles over money, including drummers who had demanded $8,000 for their activities.
Hiring an accountant is going to be a really hard sell, said accounting group member Justin Strekal. “A lot of people believe that people will just donate their time. We’ve had a bookkeeper walk away, and we’d really like to have someone with accountability.”
The new accountant will “remove any issues of transparency by just kind of paying someone to do it, like an independent auditor in a way,” said media team member Jeff Smith.
OWS manages its budget under a “fiscal sponsorship” with the Alliance for Global Justice, a non-profit based in Washington D.C. The Alliance extends its tax-exempt status to Occupy. OWS donations initially go through the Alliance, which takes a substantial 7% cut before transferring funds to OWS accounts.
Occupy can forgo paying taxes under the current arrangement, said Kathy Hoyt, the national co-coordinator of the Alliance. OWS is still required to file yearly reports with the IRS.
The proposal to hire an accountant is the latest indication that some in the movement are tired of its disorganization. Internal disputes over money need to be minimized, according to those leading the search for an accountant.
However, hiring an accountant may prove to be academic because donations, which once grew to tens of thousands of dollars every day, have nearly stopped.
Occupy Wall Street looks to hire accountant (http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/occupy-wall-street-looks-to-hire-accountant). BuzzFeed, January 10, 2012
Occupy Wall Street is looking to employ a member of the financial services industry…Takers? (http://www.businessinsider.com/occupy-wall-street-seek-financial-savy-2012-1). Business Insider, January 11, 2012