For additional articles covering Tim Ballard and OUR, please go to ACJ Investigates- Derailed: Operation Underground Railroad. After careful consideration, we’ve decided to keep our reporting of The Nazarene Fund within the Derailed series, as the criminal investigation, individuals involved and finances fall under the same umbrella. This is an ongoing investigation and report.
These past five weeks I decided to take a detour from our regular investigation, as well as several other stories that were in desperate need of attention and go down the proverbial rabbit hole to investigate Tim Ballard & Glenn Beck’s latest incarnation of The Nazarene Fund (THF), which, before it collected its first legal dime (under this iteration), was under multiple criminal investigations. Things wouldn’t be the same if Tim Ballard didn’t add some unique individual with a “specialized skillset”. This time Ballard and Beck partnered with Republican operative, pseudo-historian and right-wing extremist David Barton who has the distinction of having his own page at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
First I’d like to say, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with some amazing people and learn about some truly grand and unique experiences. What should have been settled in just a few phone calls, as a typical debunking requires; became some what of a revelation. No, not some spiritual or magical enlightenment on a hill, but an actual reveal- a realization or moment of clarity. It’s like with human trafficking when we first started investigating and exposing Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad. While we could have focused on the fraud, fabricated claims and bogus rescues by Ballard, we had the opportunity to examine actual human trafficking. The real deal and an ugly truth. It has opened the eyes of many and the story has only just begun to be picked up by the mainstream media.
Welcome to the Fringe. Chaos conservatism and the grift
Later reports will do one thing I’ve dreaded most, getting into the politics of it all. When it came to their latest incarnation of The Nazarene Fund, I realized this was much more than a simple expose or debunk story. It was an opportunity to go beyond this shallow scam under the ruse of Christian right-wing martyrdom and persecution fantasies. Americans are only now starting to realize that mainstream American conservatism has evolved into white Christian nationalism (Trumpism). The notion of asymmetric polarization and professional victimhood is all about RNC lawmakers and republican political actors, not the broader republican base.
Without a doubt and a shred of evidence, Trump and his base- republican voters, believe in ‘The Big Lie’. They also believe in satanic cabals, and a litany of other silly conspiracies, but are absolutely terrified of a growing “socialist” or “Marxist” revolution. Except in reality, it’s a byproduct of the GOP’s radicalization as the political spectrum moves with them to the far right. Their accusations of anyone and everyone that’s not white Christian nationalists of being Marxists and socialists are perfect examples of asymmetric polarization. The more radical and polarized the GOP becomes, like a cult; they’re convinced anyone not 100% in line with their beliefs to be a mortal enemy. Cult leadership uses buzzwords and popular talking points regardless of evidence to discredit those exposing their scam. The lack of evidence becomes “more proof” of a conspiracy that everyone is “in on it”.
Except their so-called opposition has more in line with, in fact virtual in lockstep, than against.
Clearly, republicans interpretation of “Marxist” and “socialist” is a dog whistle that’s racially motivated. Likely due to the fact that we have the most ethically diverse congress in history, Biden served as Vice-President under a black man and his current Vice-President Kamala Harris is black and Asian. There is not a current member of congress or in the Senate that identifies or promotes democratic-socialism, much less full blown socialism. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been a favorite target of republicans and right-wing grifters obsess over her daily, especially Ben Shapiro. They frequently promote her as some “leader” of the DNC cabal. But the progressive wing in the DNC is small and has little-to-no influence, and not a single member of the progressive wing promotes socialism. The progressive wing viewed the DNC’s nomination of Joe Biden in disgust.
These wild fantasies of Marxism? It’s bad comedy. The idea is so out-of-this-world, that the average individual (a person not right-wing media obsessed) views it as nothing more than a partisan joke, that in the real world “people don’t REALLY believe such nonsense, so they”. Sadly, the GOP’s voting base is terrified, some to the point of “taking action” and “poaching liberals”. Just like January 6th, 2021.
Of course the grifters, politicians and “philosophers” don’t really believe Marxism is on the horizon. But it gives them cover, makes them rich and justifies their push of anti-American laws & legislation in communities and states they control, with a goal solely to prevent, obstruct, tax and intimidate people of color from voting. They’re desperate to stay in power.
With that said, disclosure after disclosure revealed that the RNC was the largest benefactor of numerous incarnations of The Trump Defense Fund(s), not Donald Trump.
Of course when you’ve spent 30 years doing everything in your power to discredit legitimate journalism, education and science in your communities and states (and the results really do show), stupid people believe in silly things. And sorry, when you believe in silly things and have the audacity to try and command respect and want to be taken seriously… Tough shit. Your culture and “alternative realty” is thirty years behind. Your politicians and “philosophers” are grifters milking you dry and will use Trump to do so. As they scramble to try and keep American Christian conservativism relevant through voter suppression and paranoid delusions, it’s dying a slow death.
The game is over. It’s not censorship, it’s called stupid and dangerous. Unfortunately, stupid and dangerous costs private companies money.
COVID-19 and vaccines are a perfect example.
Worst part is, they’re killing their own people just to make a quick buck, just like with the COVID-19 nonsense. They’re hyping these men that feel they are losing their country and identity- and when they snap and shoot up a synagogue, Tucker Carlson and Glenn Beck will claim they’re just entertainment.
Is this what we’ve become?
Today, Christian conservative ideology or Trumpism I should say, is a complete separation from truth and reality.
A former assistant and friend to Glenn Beck explained to me just a few days ago, “if they bought lies from Donald Trump for years, why not [grift or scam them]? Everyone else is making money off the Trump cult. Go back to 2015 and 2016, Glenn fought and went nearly bankrupt trying to save America’s soul from Donald Trump, he did the honorable thing and it cost him everything. Well almost everything”
We will be hearing from this former assistant later in the series.
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Not only did I get the opportunity to learn quite a bit about Afghanistan, the regions, culture, history and traditions, but the truth about these mythical 5,100 Afghan Christians. As later reports will show, this alone would demonstrate what type of grifters Glenn Beck and Tim Ballard really are. The false allegations against the U.S. State Department, dishonoring ordinary people for no reason other than to push your flavor of political entertainment that has deeply radicalized your base. You cost people their lives.
Absolutely disgusting. Why wouldn’t David Barton and Glenn Beck accuse the U.S. military of such things atrocities when they were the one’s in charge and under President Biden’s command? Well, it’s not politically safe. Members of the Armed Forces are exalted in the eyes of the GOP, how else would they use them for props? Certainly not viable for your radicalized fan base. Beck and Ballard’s attempts to discredit anyone who questions their fiction, now puts them at a serious disadvantage.
Late last month, the rightwing media collective, its grifters and a consortium of Evangelical “news agencies” frantically reported on poor “Afghan Christians” being executed by the Taliban as they trotted across Afghanistan. Some even painted a graphic scene as if they were present in the chaos. Suddenly, it’s as if they took a page right out of the Christian fantasy book, She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall, a tale of Christian prosecution, sainthood and martyrdom told as graphically as possible. The phony martyr is always white (or depicted as such, even if they are from nations of darker skin color), often female and a born-again Christian.
In reality Valeen Schnurr was shot when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris opened fire in the Columbine High School library. Schnurr said, “Oh, my God, oh, my God, don’t let me die.” as shooter Dylan Klebold approached her. He asked if “she believed in God”. Valeen said yes and he asked “why?” She responded, “Because I believe and my parents brought me up that way.” Klebold walked away and Valeen Schnurr ultimately survived the massacre.
Questions from the start
For the past five weeks, Beck scrambled doing everything in his power to get the Mainstream Media to give his evacuation claims legitimacy. Yes, the very same people he claims to hate- he now wants their seal of approval. Beck is paranoid… He knows that without credible results, it may draw the attention of the feds and he would have to produce receipts.
The first independent group to call Beck and Ballard’s claims into question was MinistryWatch.
Perhaps one would find it ironic or even off that a Christian Donor Advocacy group, called MinistryWatch was the first to actually call Glenn Beck and Tim Ballard’s claims into question and caution potential donors from giving to The Nazarene Fund.
Organizations like MinistryWatch are vital, as they say in their mission, to provide a resource to teach one to be a responsible giver.
According to MinistryWatch’s website:
MinistryWatch profiles public charities, church and parachurch ministries. It is also a place to learn about how to be a responsible giver.
MinistryWatch is an independent donor advocate facilitating the information needs of donors. It provides information on organizations alleging to be charitable and its key leadership in order to identify materially misleading behavior, or wasteful spending practices. We also identify and highlight organizations that are above board and running efficiently.
The objective is to limit consequences of scams and prevention of fraudulent activity, promote better allocations of giving, encourage intelligent questions of organizational structure, financial health, and advance the idea of organizational transparency and best practices.
Said simply: MinistryWatch is an advocate for TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY, and the renewed CREDIBILITY of Christian ministries.
MinistryWatch’s top concerns is over The Nazarene Fund’s leadership and finances as well as its close affiliation with Mercury One, which The Nazarene Fund was once as subsidiary of at one point.
According to MinistryWatch, The Nazarene Fund would be disqualified from a coveted Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (ECFA) membership. The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) requires that its members have at least five board members, with at least three of them being independent. TNF only has three principles, and none of them are independent and all three have serious credibility issues and all three have either been the target of a criminal investigation or one step removed from one. More concerning, is that The Nazarene Fund on paper perpetuates that it’s “not a Christian group”, though it’s “sometimes hard to discern that by looking at the group’s own marketing material and its publicity in the publications of Christian groups that include the Christian Broadcasting Network and Focus on the Family”.
Coming soon: Did Glenn Beck and Tim Ballard spend $30 million evacuating people from Afghanistan and do they have the receipts to prove it?
The Nazarene Fund: The Three Kings
To know what The Nazarene Fund is and to get insight into how it operates, it’s best to know who are the men behind it. Their history and story. Past is prologue, indeed. If you’ve followed Lynn Packer and ACJ’s investigation, you know exactly what Tim Ballard is about. For others, if the recent events in Afghanistan and with Glenn Beck’s involvement you think that lends this some more credibility or some time of Seal of Authenticity of Guarantee. Think again. Beck was on the verge of bankruptcy the last time The Nazarene Fund had launched and subsequently failed.
Now with that said. If you’re completely unfamiliar with Tim Ballard & Glenn Beck’s first incarnation of The Nazarene Fund view Lynn Packer’s report “The Nazarene Fund” originally published January 10, 2021, below:
TNF’s mission according to their website is, “To liberate the captive, to free the enslaved, and to rescue, rebuild and restore the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious and ethnic minorities wherever and whenever they are in need.”
As with anything else or any organization, you really have to look no further than the principals behind it.
I was shocked and utterly disgusted to learn that of all people, Glenn Beck and Tim Ballard decided to enlist right-wing extremist and pseudo-historian David Barton as full partner in their latest rendition of The Nazarene Fund. Barton has the distinction of having his own page at the Southern Poverty Law Center for spewing hate and right-wing radicalism.
In a series of previous interviews of those in Tim Ballard orbit and members of the LDS Church that I interviewed over the past year for research purposes and insight into their beliefs, culture and viewpoints- Ballard’s radical shift from moderate, apolitical Mormon to his full embrace of right-wing extremism is “absolutely appalling”. It also had not gone unnoticed.
The path forward, the future of Operation Underground Railroad is through the evangelist community, Trumpism and Q-Anon. Tim sees no other way to be viable and going “straight” is not an option.
It’s wrong. Tim’s entire inner circle has fallen apart and abandoned him. They started their own anti-human trafficking organization rooted in reality. Utah ICAC severed all ties with O.U.R. and the Utah Attorney General’s Office began its own investigation into Utah AG and Tim Ballard’s best friend Sean Reyes.
The ruse is up. Tim doesn’t even comment. It is beneath him. He believes he is the savior of man. The M. Russell Ballard (no relation) had enough clout to stop the investigations and save him. It has prevented Utah media from reporting the truth.
This was evident in the Coco Berthmann fiasco.
It’s not without reason.
Then all of a sudden, Glenn Beck faded away just as all of Beck’s financial woes and mismanagement came to light and right before Tim Ballard, Operation Underground Railroad and The Nazaerene Fund became the targets of a criminal investigation.
The Three Kings
Tim Ballard has made multiple careers and a small fortune based entirely on false and misrepresented claims. From his life as a CIA operative to working for the Department of Homeland Security. From wannabe reality TV producer to and author and historian peddling LDS Biblical Fanfiction as “fact” all the way to fabricating or misrepresenting the rescue of child sex trafficking victims both real and imagined. During this time he was outed for covering up sexual assaults by his right hand man during O.U.R.’s formative years. Repeatedly lying before congress and the White House regarding the rescue of Lilliana, a child sex trafficking survivor who rescued herself, that Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad decided to steal her escape story as their own for personal gain. Worse part of it, Ballard and his team made absolutely made no attempt to learn about Lilliana, repeatedly getting basic details about her wrong from fundraiser to fundraiser- sometimes just days apart.
While Tim could not remember her age or home country from one day to the next, he could elaborate on specific sexual encounters, violence and rape over the course of her entire ordeal, despite knowing nothing about it.
Then came the “whiteboard meeting” in August 2019, which Ballard laid out the plan to funnel donor money from Operation Underground Railroad, The Nazarene Fund and several others, to help bankroll his for-profit ventures and give tribute to LDS Church for personal positioning and influence. This meeting not only is what led to the breakup between Ballard and two key players in Operation Underground Railroad, but ultimately led into an ever expanding criminal investigation not only into Tim Ballard and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, but Operation Underground Railroad and The Nazarene Fund. Several months ago, Operation Underground Railroad’s longtime Chief Financial Officer and Tim Ballard’s sister-in-law Tevya Ware and President of Operations Jonathan Lines formed another anti-human trafficking organization that is grounded in reality rather than fantasy and not just feeding Ballard’s ever-growing ego and political aspirations.
Glenn Beck’s reputation was built on dishonestly and conspiracy theories. Both Beck and Ballard are members of the LDS Church, but what separates them from the mainstream is their belief in LDS Church inspired fan fiction. Beck who is a convert to the church, has a reputation of believing in Mormon Folklore that was common belief decades ago, but today regarded as a myth and belief among converts is almost nonexistent. Beck is no stranger to scamming his audience either.
Starting back in 2008, after dozens of Beck’s advertisers decided to cut him loose, Beck partnered with Goldline International. By 2010, the organization posing as a “gold investment firm” was accused of defrauding investors. Beck doubled down and continued backing Goldline International despite the fact that it had to settle multiple allegations of fraud- until Goldline International executives were indicted in May of 2011. Ultimately Goldline International had to pay back over $4.5 million to multiple investors they defrauded. Around this time Glenn Beck had founded Beck University an unaccredited “web based online university” to lure subscribers to TheBlaze.
David Barton is a Christian author and Republican operative– who has the distinction of having his own page with the Southern Poverty Law Center for his hate speech and anti-gay rhetoric propagated through historical revisionism to justify his hate. Barton not only served as the Vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party, but was actually hired as an consultant by the RNC in 2004. He has served as an advisor to Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee to name a few.
In 1987, David Barton founded a company called Specialty Research Associates Inc., whose mission was to do historical research “relating to America’s constitutional, moral, and religious heritage.” By 1988, Barton changed the name to WallBuilders, which according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, was “a multi-purpose propaganda machine promoting Barton’s view that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and therefore ought to be ruled by biblical principles.“
In 2010, Glenn Beck hired David Barton as a teacher in for his online university.
Recently David Barton was exposed for fabricating his education and experience. Years ago David Barton ran around telling anyone who listen that he was a “Doctor” and had earned a doctorate.
When Barton was exposed as a fraud by psychology professor Warren Throckmorton on his website, Barton took down the video and all reference to him as “doctor”. Thankfully, Dr. Throckmorton saved this video as additional evidence, of this elaborate fraud fabricating and bolstering his credentials just to make himself an authority figure- that in turn becomes a way to make a quick buck. Just as Tim Ballard has the past eight or nine years, attempting to establish credibility on a subject that he knows nothing about.
Barton’s mail order PhD.
If that wasn’t bad enough, it appears Barton took a page out of Paul H. Dunn’s strategy and did some “Lyin’ For the Lord” of his own. In a video posted by professor Warren Throckmorton, Barton claims during a seminar that he played NCAA Division I Basketball for Oral Roberts. The only problem is, it just simply wasn’t true. While Barton did graduate from Oral Roberts University in 1976, according to ORU’s website and NCAA records, Barton wasn’t on any roster any year for the ORU or any other university for that matter.
Air Barton stars in Space Scam
David Barton has a bachelor’s degree in “Christian Education” from Oral Roberts University. Despite lacking any formal education, training and credentials in history or law, according to Barton’s biography at WallBuilders, he is “an expert in historical and constitutional issues”. Barton has repeatedly been accused by historians, scholars, professors, conservatives and other evangelical ministers of “spreading lies”, engaging in historical revisionism, “pseudo-scholarship” and repeatedly fabricating quotes he attributed to the Founding Fathers (doing so right on Glenn Beck’s show).
Right-leaning publications such as the National Review, calls Barton a “notorious pseudo-historian and promoter of ‘Christian nation’ drivel”. Since then, Barton has went on record making unsubstantiated reckless claims, such as “abortion causes climate change”.
Conservative Catholic Jay W. Richards, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute- a right-wing think tank that advocates pseudo-science and intelligent design, had become increasingly troubled by David Barton’s claims, and stated that Barton’s books and videos are full of “embarrassing factual errors, suspiciously selective quotes, and highly misleading claims.”
Despite spewing homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, far-radical views and laundry list of reckless, unsubstantiated claims, Tim Ballard and his new new leadership at Operation Underground Railroad, Glenn Beck and the staff at Mercury One has no problem allowing Barton to misrepresent and fabricate information and quotes by the Founding Fathers. Barton has been the subject of controversy over the years. Not only for his total disregard for the truth and wild fantasies, but his ties to ministers that speak at Neo-Nazi functions.
In fact, Beck defended many of Barton’s false claims. Oddly enough, both Ballard and Beck are influential Mormons and Ballard enjoys a personal relationship with the acting president of the LDS Church. One can only wonder how much weight and influence Barton, Ballard and Beck have in corrupting the church with their own version of Evangelist propaganda they proudly support, but goes against The Book of Mormon.
Then there is curious case of poor Rudy Atallah who runs operations or is “the scapegoat”. Ballard likes to call them “Expendables”.
Atallah has long been on Operation Underground Railroad’s payroll. His other organization, White Mountain Research has received millions of dollars in donor money from Operation Underground Railroad. To date, not a single rescue of substance has materialized nor details of what exactly donors have “paid for”.
Atallah, in March 2017, he was offered the position of the National Security Council’s Senior Director for Africa by the Trump Administration. He was highly regarded as specialist on African affairs and his expertise was much needed. Atallah speaks fluent Arabic and French and served twenty years in the U.S. Air Force reaching the rank of Lt. Colonel. Before he could accept or decline the position, the offer was rescinded. There has been some speculation that the Trump Administration rescinded the offer because Trump himself was concerned about Atallah’s loyalties (you get the picture).
Criminal investigations already underway
The Nazarene Fund (THF) was out of business for years until the withdrawal in Afghanistan. Beck and Ballard had nearly two years to arrange the rescue of Afghan Christians. This idea that the Taliban just swept the nation by surprise in total nonsense. Trump surrendered Afghanistan to the Taliban and freed 5,000 Taliban war criminals, terrorists and jihadists.
In the weeks leading up to the Afghanistan deadline, Beck, Ballard and Barton were eerily quiet. It was just two weeks before the deadline Beck, Barton and Ballard announced “The Nazarene Fund”, which, before it collected its first legal dime (under this iteration), was under multiple criminal investigations. The criminal allegations originally stem from Davis County District Attorney Troy Rawlings receiving complaints from Operation Underground Railroad’s donors, Ballard’s primary money making scheme over the past seven years. While Rawlings has yet to elaborate on the scope and extent of the investigation, we do know that it initially centered on Ballard making misleading and outright fabricated claims in fundraising appeals.
Utah journalists refused to report on the criminal investigation into Operation Underground Railroad, despite the fact that the Attorney General of Utah, Sean Reyes was part of the investigation. Lynn Packer was the first to break the story regarding the criminal investigation into Tim Ballard, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Operation Underground Railroad on August 27, 2020, that was featured on American Crime Journal and Packer’s YouTube channel.
Six weeks after Packer’s initial report, Fox13 reported the criminal investigation into Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad on October 7, 2020. This would be followed up by several local markets covering the story, the largest being St. George News. I feel it’s important to emphasize that Lynn Packer is an award winning veteran journalist in the state of Utah, a career that that spans five decades. He is a serious person, especially when it comes to serious allegations.
When the story broke regarding Ballard in August 2020, at least a dozen Utah journalists were aware of it. I know, because several reached out to ACJ to see if we could corroborate the claims made in the videos. When I assured them we could and so could Lynn, all but a few disappeared.
That all changed when the clandestine Whiteboard Meeting that occurred in August, 2019, was uncovered during the Rawling’s investigation and later reported on by Lynn Packer and then VICE News. This was the very meeting where Ballard laid out an elaborate scheme to launder donor money from various non-profits entities under he, his wife Katherine, Glenn Beck’s Mercury One and Paul Hutchinson and into his for profit business while tithing and donating generous gifts to the Church of Jesus Christ and the latter-Day Saints.
The fallout since the revelation, the ever expanding criminal investigations, Tim Ballard’s personal & professional life falling apart and ultimately what some report is his rapidly deteriorating mental health has done irreparable damage to Ballard’s image and his organizations. What appeared to be a credible organization that built strong alliances with law enforcement agencies, had evaporated.
Ballard no longer has control of the narrative and O.U.R.’s image.
Coming soon: Asymmetric Polarization, Chaos Conservatism and 5,100 Afghan Christians
Resources and Further Reading