You can read this series from the beginning here.
"Justin, we need to talk."
"I’m sorry," I said. "Who is this again?"
"Robert Lansing," the voice on the other end of the phone said. "Bryan, Lansing and Colby, LLC. We’re the accounting firm that handles the income tax liabilities for beneficiaries of the Fairchild Family Trust. I am speaking to Justin Trudeau-Fairchild, am I not?"
"Yes, you are."
"And you are a limited beneficiary of the Fairchild Family Trust, are you not?"
"I am."
"And you’re a senior shareholder and assistant managing director in Faircorp, a closely-held corporation under Bahamian law?"
"That’s me." People tease me sometimes about being in the 1%, but it’s hard to keep up with this kind of financial stuff, especially if you’re committed to Trotskyite revolutionary principles the way that I am.
"As an assistant managing director, you have a fiduciary duty to report any and all foreign conflicts of interest to the board, or its managing representatives, which includes me."
"I understand that," I said. I was listening, really I was, but I was trying to put Rand Paul’s head on a GIF of the Sta-Puft Marshmallow man stepping on a church and I wasn’t maybe paying close enough attention.
"Do you understand why I’m calling you, Mr. Trudeau-Fairchild?"
"Not a clue in this world," I said.
"Did you look closely at the stack of 1099s that you forwarded to me?" Lansing asked.
"No," I said. "I have HR here take care of that."
"Wait just one minute," he said. "Look in your inbox and tell me if you see an e-mail from me with several PDF attachments."
"Okay," I said, and opened the attachments. "This one says that I received four thousand dollars from the People’s Democratic Government of Algeria, for services rendered. That doesn’t seem right."
"Read the rest of them," Lansing said.
"Twelve hundred dollars from the Commonwealth of Australia. Fifteen hundred from the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi Foundation, whatever that is. I don’t remember getting any of this, Mr. Lansing."
"Did you get a W-2 from your employer at any point in time?"
"What’s a W-2?"
I heard the sighing sound that I hear every so often on the other end of the line. "Mr. Fairchild-Trudeau, I must tell you that accepting all this money from foreign governments represents a potentially serious conflict of interest in your role as a corporate officer. You need to return the money as soon as possible, and agree not to accept any more."
"I don’t understand how this happened, Mr. Lansing," I said. "But I don’t want to cause you or my parents any problems. I’ll talk with my supervisor here and try to straighten this out. There must be some kind of mistake."
"Oh, there’s no mistake." Aunt Joan said.
"I don’t understand what’s going on," I said.
"Of course you don’t, because I never told you. I apologize; I never thought about you having a corporate conflict of interest over this."
"You never told me what?" I asked.
"For accounting purposes, this organization is legally part of the Qatari Embassy."
"I don’t understand," I said, and I didn’t.
"We operate off of donations, Justin," Aunt Joan said. "The Emir of Qatar pays for the rent and the utilities. We’re a notional extension of the embassy. The Algerians handle most of the payroll. They don’t want foreign nationals on their embassy payroll, so you’re all independent contractors, getting payment for services rendered. When we ramped up on staff after the election, we shift the burden to other foreign governments–that’s why there’s all the 1099s. The last time I checked, the Kuwaitis were picking up 80% of my FTEs–we switched over to them after the checks from the Yemenis started bouncing."
"You’re not serious," I said.
"I am totally serious. I have to wear a burqa to finance meetings."
"I just want to make sure I have this straight," I said. "We are a progressive organization, dedicated to feminist leadership at the highest levels, and we’re accepting donations from repressive Muslim regimes?"
"I explained this to you," Aunt Joan said, "not that long ago. The thing about the bacon."
"I understand that the former Secretary routinely accepts donations from foreign governments," I said. "She’s a global leader facing global challenges that require global cooperation. But I never realized that this organization was so dependent on foreign funding before, that’s all."
"We’re not dependent on foreign money, Justin. It just works out that way. I agree it would be much easier for these countries to donate directly to the former Secretary herself. But that’s illegal. And they can’t donate to her campaign, if and when there is a campaign, because that’s illegal. They used to be able to donate to the Clinton Foundation, but there are ethics rules attached to that, and some small-minded people are complaining despite the fact that all that money is going to earthquake relief. So, instead, they donate money to us, and we use it to further progressive causes. That’s a good thing, isn’t it?"
"I guess so."
"Especially if the former Secretary wins in 2016. That’s the goal. That’s what we’re all working towards–unofficially, of course. I can tell you that the former Secretary was very impressed with your willingness to be Ready on a moment’s notice last week."
"I still can’t take the foreign money," I said.
"Of course you can’t. You are now officially on the payroll of the National Association of Adjunct Community College Instructors. I’ll have HR call your accountant, and we can take you off our list of registered foreign lobbyists. Does that suit you?"
"I guess so," I said.
"I know it’s disillusioning, seeing how the real world works," Aunt Joan said. "Just keep your eyes on the main goal, okay? You wanted to come here and make a difference, and you’re doing that. You can’t afford to get caught up in distractions like this. Understand?"
I went back downstairs and sat in my cubicle. The demonic form of the Rand Paul Stay-Puft hybrid I had created stared back at me. It was an icon of destruction and vengeance, ready to take America back to a pre-Obama existence of greed, hardship, and suffering. It had to be stopped, and I would stop it the only way I knew how, and if that meant taking donations from struggling adjunct professors in fourth-rate educational institutions, than that’s what I would have to do to make a difference.