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Keith Millea
03-30-2010, 07:14 PM
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/30-4

Published on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 by Salon.com (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/joe_conason/2010/03/29/hannity/index.html) Do Hannity and North Operate a 'Charitable' Fraud?

Sean Hannity and Ollie North say they collect millions of dollars for veterans' kids. But where did the money go?

by Joe Conason

A potentially damaging scandal erupted today that implicates Fox News Channel personalities Sean Hannity and Oliver North in the worst kind of charitable fraud. According to complaints (http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/44511) filed with the Federal Trade Commission and the IRS, the two right-wing icons have exploited American veterans for personal and partisan gain. The actions filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington accuse Hannity and North of misusing millions of dollars collected by the Freedom Alliance, a charity they promote and control.http://www.commondreams.org/files/images/seany_ollie.jpg
Similar accusations (http://www.debbieschlussel.com/6938/sean-hannitys-freedom-concert-scam-only-7-of-charitys-money-went-to-injured-troops-kids-of-fallen-troops-g5s-g6s-for-vannity/) were aired recently by right-wing blogger Debbie Schlussel, who complained that the "Freedom Concerts" sponsored by the Freedom Alliance and headlined by Hannity were not donating all proceeds -- estimated at more than $10 million -- to scholarships for the children of wounded and killed service members, as advertised. But now CREW, which had been investigating the same allegations independently before Schlussel posted her warning, has completed its own probe and filed legal actions before the two federal agencies.

The CREW complaint to the FTC charges that "Hannity and Freedom Concerts have engaged in illegal and deceptive marketing practices by suggesting that all money generated by ticket sales for the Freedom Concerts he sponsors each summer goes to scholarships for children of killed and wounded service members." Duane Ward, the promoter who heads Premiere Marketing, which produces the concerts, also runs Premiere Speakers Bureau -- which exclusively represents Hannity and North. "After staging the concerts, Premiere donates an unknown portion of the concert proceeds to the Freedom Alliance," according to CREW.
CREW points out that Hannity often promotes the concerts on his radio and television broadcasts, claiming: "Every penny, 100 percent of the donations are applied to the Freedom Alliance scholarship fund." Appearing with Hannity, North has said: "There's no overhead. There's no expenses taken out. Every penny that's donated or that's raised through things like the Freedom Concerts goes to the scholarship fund."

In its IRS complaint against Freedom Alliance, CREW says that the group's charitable tax status should be voided because it has engaged in "prohibited political activities" such as its annual "Freedom Cruise" with Republican politicians, including Newt Gingrich and Michael Steele.

"There is little more despicable than preying upon the generosity of Americans by deceiving them into believing they are aiding the children of killed and wounded service members when the truth is most of the money is going to a for-profit venture," said CREW executive director Melanie Sloan in a press release. "Americans deserve to know whether this high-profile charity allegedly dedicated to helping veterans and their families is really doing what it says it is."

Not surprisingly, Hannity and North and their allies have sought to refute (http://newsbusters.org/blogs/ken-shepherd/2010/03/22/schlussels-anti-hannity-allegations-investigated-and-found-fundamental) the charges first lodged by Schlussel. But one of the researchers who worked on this matter says there is much more that will be revealed in the coming days.

© 2010 Salon.com

David Guyatt
03-31-2010, 08:40 AM
Imagine that, Ollie North engaged in "illegal and deceptive" practices.

Wonders will never cease, eh.

Keith Millea
04-06-2010, 02:27 AM
http://www.debbieschlussel.com/20046/responding-to-schlussel-expose-charity-navigator-downgrades-hannity-charity-freedom-alliance-rating-now-only-2-stars-needs-improvement/

April 5, 2010, - 2:56 pm
Responding to Schlussel Expose, Charity Navigator Downgrades Hannity Charity: Freedom Alliance Rating Now Only 2 Stars (”Needs Improvement”) (http://www.debbieschlussel.com/20046/responding-to-schlussel-expose-charity-navigator-downgrades-hannity-charity-freedom-alliance-rating-now-only-2-stars-needs-improvement/)

By Debbie Schlussel (http://www.debbieschlussel.com/)
(bumped up by Debbie’s site administrator)

We’re finally starting to see the rest of the world come to realize what I originally reported on this site: that both Sean Hannity and Freedom Alliance are defrauding donors to their scams, er . . . “charities.” And now, as a result of my work, a major charity evaluator–a charity evaluator whose rating of the group I exposed as completely flawed–has woken up downgraded Freedom Alliance, slashing its rating in half.

http://www.debbieschlussel.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/freedomallianctwostars.jpg
http://www.debbieschlussel.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/freedomconcerthannity.jpg (http://www.debbieschlussel.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/freedomconcerthannity.jpg)
A few weeks ago, I blew the lid off of the fraud that is Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concerts and the scam “charity” known as “Freedom Alliance.” (http://www.debbieschlussel.com/6938/sean-hannitys-freedom-concert-scam-only-7-of-charitys-money-went-to-injured-troops-kids-of-fallen-troops-g5s-g6s-for-vannity/) I showed you the organization’s tax returns and how Hannity lied to his audience when he told them a $30,000 sponsorship by Boca Java would fund a whole year’s college scholarship for the child of a fallen American soldier. I showed you that, in fact, Freedom Alliance has NEVER paid for the full year’s tuition of a college student. Not even close. And I showed you the pitifully small amounts–$200 here, $165 there–that Freedom Alliance gave to soldiers who lost three limbs and an eye or were totally blinded with their face blown up.

And since then, after I followed up and reported the accounts of TWO insiders, witnesses to Oliver North telling Sean Hannity to stop spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of the concert revenues on private planes–money that was secreted through the bank accounts of Premiere Speakers Bureau (http://www.debbieschlussel.com/19630/big-business-who-owns-the-freedom-concerts-how-sean-hannitys-private-jets-luxe-suvs-suites-were-paid/), the conservative amen crowd (no different than Obamabots) has been largely silent, unable to refute what I’ve written, with Hannity and Premiere refusing to disclose the financial records of the concerts. At first, like Obama’s brainless, hypnotized minions, they attacked me and echoed the empty denials of the malefactors here, declaring that a “debunking.” But if the debunking of con artists and frauds was actually “debunking,” we’d have no need for prisons.

But now, as a result of my investigation, Charity Navigator–which many of the smirking apologists for Hannity (most of them as fraudulent as he is and, yes, that includes Fraudkin and Big Follywood) cited–has downgraded Freedom Alliance from a “Four Star” charity, to a “Two Star” charity (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=6590), meaning it “Needs Improvement” and “Underperforms Most Charities in Its Cause.” (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=484#15) And, frankly, even that rating is charitable. As I noted in my piece, Charity Navigator’s original Four Star ranking was baloney. It was bogus, and involved a silly, inept number-crunching formula which counted Freedom Alliance’s millions of dollars spent on cronies and consultants as actually going to the intended recipients of the charity. I’m glad that, after my work, Charity Navigator sorta woke up.

As I noted then (http://www.debbieschlussel.com/6938/sean-hannitys-freedom-concert-scam-only-7-of-charitys-money-went-to-injured-troops-kids-of-fallen-troops-g5s-g6s-for-vannity/):

In investigating Freedom Alliance and its tax forms, I learned that the organizations which evaluate charities are entirely worthless. Freedom Alliance is certified as “Best in America” by the “Independent Charities of America.” It is also rated a “Four Star Charity” by “Charity Navigator.” Both of these “ratings” are posted prominently on Freedom Alliance’s website, misleading donors into believing they are donating to a worthy cause, when in fact they are mostly donating to a black hole of expenses. Even Charity Navigator notes in its strange, illogical, and mostly inaccurate Four Star rating that Freedom Alliance has a fund-raising “efficiency” of only nine cents on the dollar. And, in fact, Charity Navigator’s ridiculous rating formula robotically crunches numbers in a way that considers the money spent mostly on consultants, postage, and printing as having gone to the wounded soldiers and kids of fallen soldiers, when in fact that’s not where it went at all. It simply can’t be taken seriously.
Well, now Charity Navigator wants to be taken seriously and has revoked its baseless Four-Star baloney. Like I said, glad this lackluster charity evaluator finally, partially woke up.

http://www.debbieschlussel.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/charitynavigatorfreedomalli.jpg (http://www.debbieschlussel.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/charitynavigatorfreedomalli.jpg)
http://www.debbieschlussel.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/charitynavigatorstars.jpg
But you know who still hasn’t woken up and doesn’t want to be taken seriously? The many prominent conservatives in the apologist crowd, who cited the original, bogus Four Star rating in their phony defenses of Hannity, the con-artist charity, and their concert scam. Not one has noted the downgrade. Not one. And maybe that’s because they’ve all taken money for ads for Vannity’s new book on their websites and whored themselves out to appear on his book tour (the cost of their travel, including Fraudkin’s and Paulnut/anti-Semite Erickson’s, reduces the amount of money–the non-existent “profits”–Vannity said he was going to “give to charity” to the troops (http://www.debbieschlussel.com/19586/semantics-of-vannity-how-much-from-sean-hannitys-new-book-will-actually-go-to-wounded-troops-kids-of-fallen/), via the Two Star/Needs Improvement Freedom Alliance).

And in one, case, Fraudkin’s, it’s the only primetime outlet she has left on FOX News on which to pimp herself, since she’s in a petty woman-scorned feud against Bill O’Reilly (one of her many such petty feuds against myself, Ann Coulter, and many other conservatives to whom she rightfully feels inferior). Fraudkin demanded an apology from me for telling the truth and being able to read a tax form, neither of which, as she’s amply demonstrated, she’s competent to do. I won’t demand an apology here, because none will be forthcoming from these haughty phonies and liars, and even if it did it would be as relevant and important as an ant urinating. (Fraudkin didn’t apologize to the two AIPAC lobbyists she repeatedly attacked in her anti-Israel, anti-Semitic rants. I can’t expect better treatment from the selfish charlatan.)

Oh, and by the way, Freedom Alliance quietly erased all references and links to Charity Navigator from its site, despite using the bogus, now-downgraded rating from the group as a defense for its waste and fraud, just weeks ago.

I’m still waiting for the financials on Hannity’s private planes and the millions in profits Duane Ward and Premiere made from the Freedom Concerts, all while Hannity knowingly lied to his audiences telling them all the profit would got to the troops. Nope, the profit went to his cronies. And by the way, I now have evidence some of the profit may have gone into his pockets. Plus we already know that hundreds of thousands remained in his pockets as concert revenue went to pay for his private planes and fancy accommodations for his posse.

Stay tuned for that, as I have a lot more on Hannity, the Freedom Concerts, and the Freedom Alliance coming up. This isn’t going away.
For now, ask yourself: why would anyone give to a charity that even Charity Navigator now says, “NEEDS IMPROVEMENT”?