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Freedom Alliance, The Favorite Charity of Sean Hannity and Oliver North, Receives an "F" From Leading Watchdog Group

Reported by Ellen - December 13, 2007 -

Remember those much touted Freedom Concerts that Sean Hannity and Oliver North bragged raise money for our veterans? Well, it turns out those two "Great Americans" may have some 'splaining to do. Freedom Alliance, the charity founded by North and the beneficiary of the concerts, just got an "F" rating from the leading watchdog group, American Institute of Philanthropy. In an article in today's Washington Post, Freedom Alliance was cited for its meager spending on veterans relative to the monies received.

The article states:

Americans gave millions of dollars in the past year to veterans charities designed to help troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, but several of the groups spent relatively little money on the wounded, according to a leading watchdog organization and federal tax filings.

Eight veterans charities, including some of the nation’s largest, gave less than a third of the money raised to the causes they champion, far below the recommended standard, the American Institute of Philanthropy said in a report. One group passed along 1 cent for every dollar raised, the report says. Another paid its founder and his wife a combined $540,000 in compensation and benefits last year, a Washington Post analysis of tax filings showed.

There are no laws regulating the amount of money charities spend on overhead, fundraising or giving. But the institute’s report suggests that 20 of the 29 military charities studied were managing their resources poorly, paying high overhead costs and direct-mail fundraising fees, and, in some cases, providing their leaders with six-figure salaries.

The 12 charities rated as failing by the institute – including the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, the AMVETS National Service Foundation and the Freedom Alliance – collected at least $266 million in the past fiscal year.

“They know how to work the system, and they seem pretty good at not going over the line, although it is pretty outrageous that so little money is actually winding up benefiting charities,” said Daniel Borochoff, president and founder of the Chicago-based institute.

You can also watch an ABC report here.

Many thanks to our reader, Claudo, for the tip. A hat tip also goes to reader Frank who has previously forwarded much information about Freedom Alliance to me but which I lacked the financial savvy to analyze.