Thursday, December 15, 2016

NPR Has Bank Accounts in Russia, Iraq & Germany: Why?

There's probably a fine reason why National Public Radio has three bank accounts in foreign countries. 

According to NPR's IRS 990 filings, the nonprofit news outlet has accounts in Germany, Iraq and Russia.

I submitted questions to their ombudsman asking why they have these three off-shore accounts and here are excerpts from the initial response. Hope to receive a substantive reply to my query. From NPR:

"This message was sent to in reference to Case #489654.
NPR | Dec 15, 2016 04:20PM EST 
Re: Hello, I see on the IRS 990 filings for NPR that you maintain bank accounts in three foreign

"Dear Michael, Thank you for contacting the Office of the Ombudsman at NPR. This is an automated response . . .

"Due to the high volume of emails, we cannot respond to every inquiry. However, every message is read by Ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen or her staff . . .

"We often quote audience letters on the Ombudsman blog . . . We encourage you to join the conversation about those posts on Facebook and Twitter . . .

"Social Media:
Twitter: @ejensenNYC


henry said...

NPR actually operates a radio station in Berlin: ... most NPR stations in the US actually just buy content, but NPR operates the station in Berlin.

Stephen R. Stapleton, Sacramento, CA said...

I can think of several reasons why NPR would have bank accounts in foreign countries. The first might be there is a requirement by the host nation for NPR to have such an account in order to station employees there. Second, to facilitate payment to stringers and other contract staff. Third, the difficulty in transferring funds to such places makes keeping money there for immediate needs essential. Fourth, NPR operates a local operation in that place and needs accounts to pay regular bills in local currency.

I could go on and on, but the three countries listed are not, by any stretch, money havens and NPR is likely losing money as those currencies are depreciating against the dollar, even the Euro, so I doubt this is an indication of anything sinister.