Questions raised over Indiana charity - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Questions raised over Indiana charity

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A recent tax exempt filing by the Frontier Foundation links directly to Buyer's office - starting with the first contact for the organization. A recent tax exempt filing by the Frontier Foundation links directly to Buyer's office - starting with the first contact for the organization.
Congressman Steve Buyer Congressman Steve Buyer
Sandra Chapman/Eyewitness News

Monticello - Questions are swirling about an Indiana charity raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for college scholarships and its ties to Congressman Steve Buyer. The money is failing to reach students, but not the National Rifle Association.

In Monticello, home of Congressman Steve Buyer, a recent 990 tax exempt filing by the Frontier Foundation links directly to Buyer's office - starting with the first contact for the organization which is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for college scholarships. The money comes from groups with high stakes in legislation under scrutiny by committees Buyer serves on.

Stephanie Mattix, Buyer's finance director, provides her name and Buyer's office number as the point of contact.

According to the 990 filing, the address given is the address for the Frontier Foundation. But that's news to the company that owns the space. According to them, the lease was for Steve Buyer.

Real estate owner Greg Vogel said the foundation wasn't leasing there now. "We're not subleasing it," he said.

Eyewitness News' message was forwarded to the Frontier Foundation's Sandra Danford, who said Mattix was no longer with the foundation.

Danford is now trying to quash concerns.

"I have a hard time with understanding why people want to attack someone who's going to do good. I mean, in reality, this is truly hurting our students," said Danford.

But students have yet to receive one dime of the reported $800,000 raised.

"We basically want to raise a million dollars in scholarship money. We don't want to be a foundation that starts providing scholarship money and then in 3 or 4 years we dwindle," said Danford.

According to the 990, Frontier Foundation paid the NRA, (National Rifle Association) nearly $1,500 for educational programs.

Eyewitness News asked Danford if the foundation was willing to give money to organizations like the NRA, why not just take the money and give it to a student?

"I can't really answer that. I haven't had time myself to research all the expenses, expenditures, what's going into all the fundraisers," Danford said.

Congressman Buyer's offices were closed for the holiday. Sandra Danford says she took over August 1st, and defends Buyer, saying he helps Frontier Foundation and other organizations with their fundraisers.

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