Congress Questions Veteran Charitable Organizations

Several lawmakers are beginning to raise questions concerning the activities of the Coalition To Salute America’s Heroes Foundation regarding the manner in which money is spent. Retired Army Gen. Thomas Franks was paid $100,000 -out of donations made to assist wounded veterans– for allowing his name to be used in a fundraising appeal. Rep. Henry Waxman said Franks has now disassociated himsellf from the Coalition and asked that his name no longer be used in connection with solicitations. Roger Chapin, president of Help Hospitalized Veterans Inc. who is associated with the Coalition insists there was nothing illegal about the endorsement. Chapin has acknowledged the organization has used inflated numbers in describing how his organizations help wounded veterans. The organizations raised $168,000,000 in donations from 2004-2006 and spent $125,000,000 infundraising and administrative costs. About 20% went to aid veterans. Chapin and his wife received $1.5 million in salary from 2004-2006.

We can assume this percentage of money actually going to the intended object of the fundraising is most probably normal. It is unusual that money sent as a result of a fundraising appeal winds up with most going to the intended recipients. The beauty of fundraising is that so many people wind up making money. It would be nice if 90% of this money actually went to wounded veterans, but such thinking obviously reflects my own naive perspective on life.

Oh, since General Franks is disassociating his name from the charity, will he be returning the $100,000?