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[liberationtech] Some non-technical questions about Haystack

Matt D. Harris mdh at
Thu Sep 16 17:21:33 PDT 2010

On Thu, 16 Sep 2010 17:09:39 -0700, Daniel Colascione
<dan.colascione at> wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Hello, Matt.
> On Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 4:08 PM, Matt D. Harris <mdh at> wrote:
>> Howdy folks,
>> I asked Daniel about this
>> off-list, as I was curious, and the financials of a 501(c)3 organization are
>> a matter of public record in the US, but never received a response from him.
> Sorry about the missed reply --- my life has been very hectic, and
> some things have fallen through the cracks.

No worries, I understand.  I really am genuinely curious about these
topics, and had hoped that perhaps we could address them without
spamming the list, but after a couple of days without response I felt
perhaps it was prudent to talk about it more publicly.  

>> I did a little bit more digging and found that the CRC is a registered
>> California corporation as of 09/2009, but I can't find a 990 for the
>> organization from 2009, nor can I find any record of their IRS 1023 (which
>> is the application for 501(c)3 status.  I plan to make contact with the IRS
>> directly tomorrow regarding this issue to see if they can clear up the facts
>> surrounding the CRC's status as a charitable non-profit entity in the US,
> When you do, it might be helpful to give them document locator number
> 17053-134-33502-0. That number identifies our our 501(c)(3)
> application.
>> I'm curious how much money came in, and where it went.  Beyond
>> that, a statement on the 501(c)3 status of the organization might be nice -
>> since the website claimed that the organization was in fact a 501(c)3
>> charitable non-profit.
> As other posters to this thread have mentioned, the website clearly
> indicated (and still indicates) that the 501(c)(3) status was pending.

Well, sort of.  It says "the Censorship Research Center (CRC), a San
Francisco-based 501(c)(3)* non-profit organization, was founded by
Austin Heap and Daniel Colascione..." and only later states that it's
not actually a 501(c)3 organization.  I think that this clearly
indicates that "the Censorship Research Center (CRC), a San
Francisco-based 501(c)(3)* non-profit organization" - explicitly, in
fact.  Going back on that later in subscript just seems kind of awkward.
I'm not sure why anyone would write it that way.  

> As for the question of money --- I know it must be frustrating, but I
> won't provide an off-the-cuff response here and risk inadvertently
> saying something inaccurate. But I will say that nobody drew a salary
> or earned a living from the CRC. I lived off savings and credit, and
> I'm still working on paying off my debt.

Oh, wow.  This answers the major question here, I think.  I'm sorry if
I came off somewhat adversarially at first given this revelation, I had
started to worry that this whole thing may have been a very profitable
scam for some of those involved.  Even though those suspicions weren't
well founded and were based more on intuition and a lack of transparency
in terms of financials thus far, I felt it was worthy of addressing.  

> Regards,
> Daniel Colascione

Thanks for your response Daniel.  For what it's worth, I really do wish
you the best.  It seems unfortunate that this whole thing went down the
way that it did, and I think we all truly hope that the lessons learned
here about responsibility and prudential planning will have an impact on
any such future project.  At the end of the day, the most important
point is to do due diligence whenever one is taking risks with real
human beings' freedom and safety.  This applies to the medical
community, to the legal community, and should apply to those of us
participating in these sorts of projects, as well.  

Take care, Matt

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