It takes a certain kind of person to choose to read through a tax form. It takes a certain kind of person to read through a 127 page tax form. Bruce McLeod is that kind of person, when the tax form is from the American Bar Association. But what he found on page 118 of Form 990 was, well, interesting.
In 2017, the ABA became aware of an unauthorized diversion of assets totaling approximately $1.3 million over a period of multiple years, committed by a non-management staff member. The employee was immediately placed on administrative leave when the unauthorized diversion of assets was detected and was terminated the following day. The ABA commenced an investigation and notified both the Executive Committee of its board of directors and law enforcement, with whom the ABA has cooperated fully in the ongoing investigation. Furthermore, forensic experts from the accounting firm of Grant Thornton were engaged to participate in the investigation along with the ABA Internal Audit, Financial Services staff and the General Counsels Office. The ABA reviewed and revised procedures including more stringent controls and monitoring and increased financial oversight. The ABA is in the process of seeking recovery of the funds from its insurance carrier.
For those less inclined to read the small print (or block quotes), it says that somebody working for the ABA stole $1.3 million over a period of years and nobody knew about it. Even more curiously, the ABA, which issues press releases almost daily on all manner of issues, some having a connection to law and some being off in the stratosphere, never said a word about it to the public, to their members, to anyone other than the IRS.
It’s one thing that the ABA drove away its member by straying from a membership association relating to the practice of law to a social justice organization obsessed with progressive politics. That alone would make them financially nonviable. But to have an employee steal $1.3 million on top has got to hurt.
And yet, the ABA swept it under the rug, because it wasn’t bad enough that they no longer represent lawyers, it wasn’t bad enough that they became an organ of social justice, it wasn’t bad enough that they forfeited their role as honest broker in the qualifications of federal judges. No, that wasn’t bad enough. It turns out that they aren’t even competent enough to discover an employee stealing money until there’s $1.3 million missing.
But don’t tell anybody, as it will embarrass the ABA, and they’re doing bad enough already.