A tad more on the 'membership' of the United Seniors Association (USA).
At least as far back as 2002, USA has claimed a membership of 1.5 million.
(There are numerous examples. But just for reference, see National Journal, Dec. 7, 2002 and Newsday, August 4, 2002. An example of the identical claim from the 20th of this month can be found here in the Washington Times.)
Yet if you look at their 2001 and 2002 '990s' (the public tax filing for a 501c4), they list no income from membership dues.
Specifically, on the 2002 form, look on page 3, question 3 ("Membership dues and assessments") and no number is entered. Not even a zero; it's just blank.
Yet in the 2003 filing, on the same line, question 3, they list $1,204,172.00. (The 2003 filing is the most recent available.)
So, in two successive years in which the group claimed the same number of members, revenues from membership fees went from $0 to $1.2 million.
Now, what happened there exactly?
The membership levels purportedly remained the same. So I guess we could posit that membership dues were hiked from 0 cents to, say, 75 cents per annum. But somehow that doesn't sound quite right. So what happened?
Here's one thought that might be worth pursuing.
Remember that these filings are made in the following calendar year. So the 2002 990 was prepared in 2003, and so forth. Now, one thing that happened over the period in question is that United Seniors Association's apparent lack of any real membership started getting attention in the press. In fact, the article in the Washington Monthly I cited yesterday would have appeared about two months before the 2003 990 was filed.