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Volunteers: Minuteman accounting is lax

July 20, 2006 at 7:11 PM

HERNDON, Va., July 20 (UPI) -- Some members of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, the controversial U.S. border-security group, have raised questions about its finances.

Gary Cole, the group's former director of operations, told the Washington Times he collected thousands of dollars and does not know where the money went or how it was spent. Cole said Chris Simcox, the president, has refused to provide an accounting.

The organization handles its funds through Declaration America, a non-profit group founded by Alan Keyes, a conservative commentator and sometime presidential and senatorial candidate. Simcox told the Times he has hired an outside auditing firm to provide an accounting, which should be available by November.

Simcox said the group has spent millions of dollars on equipment and supplies for its border patrols. But Cole and other members say funds for field operations never materialized.

Simcox is also raising money for a border fence. Critics say all that has appeared so far is three miles of barbed-wire fence that one former volunteer said "wouldn't stop a tricycle."

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