Before I share this, I want to say that I used to believe what Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin said. I believed they had the interests of America. I have watched Limbaugh blatantly lie. The same with Mark Levin. Now I have found this article that is backed up by credible sources painting a very bleak picture of Sean Hannity.
Conservative pundits like FOX New's Sean Hannity can expect to take some flack from writers on the left. But when a "fellow" conservative writer calls his charity "a huge scam," it may be time to take a closer look.
Sean Hannity has been traveling the country on his so-called “freedom concert” tour for years. These shows are promoted as benefit concerts by an organization known as Freedom Alliance to raise money to send the children of servicemen who died in Iraq to college. The organization proudly touts convicted con artist, Oliver North, as one of its co-founders.
According to conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel, less than 4 to 7 percent of the money donated to Hannity's Freedom Alliance "charity" in the past two years actually went to the causes for which donations were solicited.
Hannity's Freedom Alliance is supposedly "raising money to pay for the college tuition of the children of fallen soldiers and to pay severely wounded war vets." According to recent reports, the truth is that millions of the money donated was spent to "ferret the Hannity posse of family and friends [about the country] in high style."
In other words, Sean Hannity is using the wounded American heroes he claims to champion as tools to enrich himself and surround himself in luxury. Most of the money goes to pay for luxury jets and fleets of limousines for Hannity and his entourage, as well as other administrative costs that far exceed the usual ratio of costs to charitable outlays for legitimate charities.
The Washington Post stated that Hannity's charity received a grade of "F" by the American Institute of Philanthropy for failing to deliver less than one third of its proceeds to intended recipients. That is well below the 75% required to be considered a legitimate charity.
According to Schlussel, despite Hannity's statements to the contrary on his nationally syndicated radio show, few of the children of fallen soldiers got more than $1,000-$2,000, with apparently none getting more than $6,000. Meanwhile, Freedom Alliance appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars for private planes. Moreover, despite written assurances to donors that all money raised would go directly to scholarships for kids of the fallen heroes and not to expenses, Hannity's "charity" has begun charging expenses of nearly $500,000 to give out just over $800,000 in scholarships.
Based on its 2006 tax returns, Freedom Alliance reported revenue of $10,822,785, but only $397,900 (a measly 3.68%) of that was given to the children of fallen troops as scholarships or as aid to severely injured soldiers. The tax forms filed by Freedom Alliance in 2008 show a similar pattern of misuse of funds.
According to Schlussel, the 2008 Freedom Alliance tax forms, which were signed in November 2009 and filed only recently, showed that Hannity's organization "took in $8,781,431 in revenue and gave $1,060,275.57 total-or just 12%-to seriously wounded soldiers and for scholarships to kids of the fallen." Media Matters looked into Schlussel's claims and stated, "her numbers seem to check out. If her assertions that Hannity has made false claims in raising money for the charity are also true, that would be scandalous."
Meanwhile, tonight, Sean Hannity will be honored with an award for this “outstanding community service" by a radio talk show host at Talkers Magazine’s convention.
Editors at The New York Times and the Washington Post have said in recent months that their papers need to do a better job of picking up on stories right-wing web sites are pushing. Schlussel's investigation into Hannity and Freedom Alliance would seem like a good place for the Post and Times to do some digging - unless, of course, they only intend to follow up on conservative attacks on liberals.
Regardless of whether or not Schlussel's assessment of Hannity's charity is correct, it is always advisable to take a close look at any organization soliciting for donations before making a contribution. You have a right to know whether your money is spent helping the cause you donated to, or lining the pockets of millionaire punks like Sean Hannity.
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