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Sean Hannity’s Favorite Charity Doesn’t Look So Good On Paper

Reported by Ellen - July 29, 2006 -

There’s been a lot of promotion on Hannity & Colmes for Hannity’s fourth annual “Freedom Concert” in New Jersey and California, both to benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. Freedom Alliance is a multi-purpose right-wing charity founded by FOX News host Oliver North. Freedom Alliance claims that 100% of the donations go to scholarships for the children of soldiers “who have sacrificed life or limb.” I have no reason to doubt that claim. But the financial profile of the Freedom Alliance as a whole, which gets promoted every time the Scholarship Fund does, leaves a lot to be desired.

According to Charity Navigator, nearly half of Freedom Alliance’s expenses go to administrative and fundraising costs. Only 55.7% of the charity’s funds are spent on the programs and services it exists to deliver. It received an overall rating of two stars and no stars for efficiency from Charity Navigator. Clicking on the “Historical Data” link on the Charity Navigator site yields some more interesting information. In 2003, the year before the last CN report, Freedom Alliance received four stars overall and three for its efficiency rating. The percentage spent on program expenses declined from 81.6% and its percentage of monies spent on fundraising tripled from 2003’s 13.8%. In other words, the amount of money Freedom Alliance spent on its own programs dramatically decreased while its fundraising expenditures dramatically increased.

A visit to the Scholarship Fund page of the Freedom Alliance website promises a link to the 2005 Annual Report. But neither that nor the 2004 report provide any financial information or accounting.

Again, there’s no reason to doubt the claim that 100% of money donated to the Scholarship Fund goes to scholarships. But Hannity’s efforts are not just on behalf of the scholarship fund. In a FOXNews.com video of “highlights” of the recent New Jersey concert, Oliver North thanks Hannity for putting “Freedom Alliance and the scholarship fund on the map.” Hannity’s website also promotes the concert as a benefit for the Freedom Alliance charity as a whole.

In fact, the mission statement of Freedom Alliance says nothing about scholarships but a lot about Oliver North’s far right-wing philosophy: “to advance the American heritage of freedom by honoring and encouraging military service, defending the sovereignty of the United States and promoting a strong national defense.” Judging from the number of entries on the homepage, attacking the UN is of greater importance to Freedom Alliance than honoring soldiers or their children. But you wouldn’t know that from listening to Hannity.

Last night (7/28/06), there was another round of “highlights” from the New Jersey concert on Hannity & Colmes. There’s no doubt that with the California concert coming up, more promotion of this charity will be seen on H&C.

H/T to reader NewzHound for the story tip.