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Not Much Money From Hannity's Freedom Concerts Reaches The Beneficiaries

Reported by Ellen - March 19, 2010 -

We have long had our suspicions about how much money from Sean Hannity's highly-touted Freedom Concerts actually go to scholarships given out by Freedom Alliance, the charity run by Hannity's pal, convicted liar Oliver North. Now, it appears as though our worst suspicions have been confirmed. UPDATED 3/21/10 with what Hannity would call "exculpatory evidence" on his behalf.

We saw red flags in 2006 and 2007 - especially in 2007, when we found that no portion of the ticket price was deemed tax deductible, and that only $4 of the ticket price for a ticket in San Diego that year went to the overall charity Freedom Alliance (not necessarily its scholarship fund).

Now conservative Debbie Schlussel has put out damning blog post about the paltry sums that actually went to vets and scholarships. We hardly think of Schlussel as a reputable source and she has a long-standing grudge against Hannity. But with a little help from my sister, the former accountant, we concluded that Schlussel's basic conclusions about the Freedom Alliance are correct.

Only 7% and 12% in 2007 and 2008, respectively, (links to Freedom Alliance's IRS forms that have the numbers can be found in Schlussel's post), of Freedom Alliance's revenues went to "grants and allocations," which, presumably, means vets and scholarships. That means that out of Freedom Alliance's $12,459,317 total revenue in 2007, it gave $895,347 in total. In 2008, Freedom Alliance received $8,781,431 and it paid out $1.060,275.

For comparison purposes, United Negro College Fund gave out 56% and 45% in 2007 and 2008, respectively, of their total revenue. That means that UNCF received in 2007 $197,435,560 and gave out $111,260,696 and in 2008, its revenue was $240,455,525 and it gave out $108,354,765.

Schlussel makes some other damning accusations about the high costs of Hannity's travel which we cannot confirm from the 990's.

It's time for Hannity and North to face their public and let everyone know just how much or little of their donated money goes where they think it goes.

UPDATE: As Gawker noted, David Frum did a rather extensive analysis of Schlussel's accusations and Freedom Alliance's response and came up with a convincing case in Hannity's and Freedom Alliance's defense. But even he acknowledged that not much money from the concerts gets to Freedom Alliance.