In a 2014 article in Jacobin Magazine, George Joseph presents a detailed look into the Gülen Movement’s US charter schools and the complex schemes through which they launder American taxpayer dollars, funneling the money back to Fethullah Gülen’s transnational Hizmet. These schemes are widespread among the schools and operate in remarkably similar fashion:
A Jacobin investigation found that malfeasance in the Gulen network, the second largest in the country, is more widespread than previously thought. Federal contracting documents suggest that the conflict-of-interest transactions occurring at Concept are a routine practice at other Gulen-affiliated charter school operators.
Armed with startup capital from Turkish foundations, the charter school network has quickly grown to over 130 schools in twenty-five states while employing the same business strategy: invest in lawmakers to win charter school contracts, import Gulen adherents to staff schools on H-1B teaching visas, and award school contracts to education resource firms led by former employees.
The cycle can then repeat itself as enriched former school employees donate to the plethora of Turkish foundations, securing political influence for individual charter school operators.
In Illinois and Texas, Gulen-linked Turkish cultural foundations have invited lawmakers on numerous trips to Turkey, and consistently fund the campaigns of those in a position to expand their fast-growing network. When the Chicago Public Schools declined Concept’s offer to build two more schools, for example, Concept appealed to the Illinois State Charter School Commission, an agency formed by Illinois Democratic Chairman Michael Madigan, among others. The commission overturned the school board’s decision and approved Concept’s expansion.