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Nonprofit's Contracts Called into Question

Charity watchdogs say the way the group Women's Voices Women Vote has spent its money on at least one contract raises red flags.

In 2006, the organization paid Integral Resources Inc. nearly $800,000 for phone services. That company's CEO and founder is Ron Rosenblith, who is married to Women's Voices president, Page Gardner. The contract represents 16 percent of the nonprofit's budget. The group is funded mostly through foundations and individual donations.

"I think it's a really big concern," said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy in Chicago. "It does give an appearance of a conflict of interest."

The question, he and other charity experts say, would be whether Integral Resources profited from its inside connections. Women's Voices did not make anyone available to comment.

The organization also paid several million dollars more on contracts with companies run by five additional members of the nonprofit's leadership team.

This would be troubling if those people had influence over the nonprofit's expenditures when the contracts were awarded, said Rick Cohen, former executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, now national correspondent for Nonprofit Quarterly magazine.

"By going to companies that are related to members of the organization, it does create the image, if not the reality, of self-dealing," Cohen said of the Women's Voices contracts. "I think this is a concern for donors, a concern for state and federal regulators, and a concern to the public."

Will Evans is with the Center for Investigative Reporting.

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Will Evans