March 31, 2010

Leave it to Greta Van Susteren to give Sean a little air time to pimp his new book coming out and his charity which is under fire from CREW and VoteVets. For more on that go back and read my post from Ed Schultz's show where he talked to Melanie Sloan and Jon Soltz talking about their FTC complaint against Hannity and his charity.

Greta asks Hannity about where the proceeds from his new book are going to go and here's his answer.

Hannity: All the net proceeds, I do have some expenses, I had to hire a researcher and I had to hire an editor, but short of that after, every penny I would make is going to go to my charity, Freedom Alliance.

Van Susteren: And, that is?

Hannity: This is a charity that has been set up for the children, especially of recent military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and we have about $15 million in the fund that's waiting for those young kids when they become of age so they can go to college.

Here's the problem with Hannity's argument.

As I already noted, this Mother Jones article lays out the problems with Hannity's charity very well.

Hannity's Charity Under Fire:

CREW's complaint, lodged with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), alleges that Hannity and Freedom Concerts have been dishonest in suggesting that the entirety of the revenues from ticket sales goes straight to a scholarship fund. Freedom Alliance does not actually manage the concerts, Crew discovered via a Freedom of Information request and promotional materials. Instead, they're organized by a middleman—a promotional company called Premiere Marketing.

The firm is headed by Duane Ward, who is also the president of Premiere Motivational Speakers Bureau, which represents both Hannity and North and has a "long history in conservative activism." Ward previously worked for Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority and ran North's legal defense fund following the Iran-Contra scandal in the late 1980s. Premiere in turn donates an "unknown portion of the concert proceeds to the Freedom Alliance," alleges CREW. "We have no idea how much money it actually is," CREW executive director Melanie Sloan told reporters on Monday. But CREW argues that Hannity and Freedom Alliance's claims that the revenues go directly to scholarships amounts to "illegal and deceptive marketing practices."

In a conference call, CREW said its investigation indicates that Hannity and Freedom Alliance have "spent much more money on fund-raising and mailing" than on actual donations. CREW also alleges that Freedom Alliance has misled contributors about the sums they've given directly to the fund through concerts and other donations.

The government watchdog's investigation found that Freedom Concerts held in 2009 in Texas and Nevada grossed $621,792 and $520,840, respectively. If every concert grossed a low-end estimate of $500,000, the 18 concerts since 2003 would have brought in a cool $9 million. However, on its tax forms, Freedom Alliance claims to have only given $2.5 million to the scholarship fund since 2003. (CREW estimates that the group could not have given more than $2.1 million during this period.) CREW also found that the ticket price for at least one concert included a $4 "fee" that went to the Alliance as a donation and not to the scholarship fund.

CREW has also filed a second complaint with the Internal Revenue Service arguing that North's Freedom Alliance has violated its status as a 501(c)3 charity by "engaging in prohibited political activities."

I apologize to Mother Jones for using as much of their article as I did and everyone needs to go read the whole thing to get a real dose of just how badly managed this joke of a charity run by Hannity and his buddies actually is. It's a scam which does not support the families of our troops in the manner it pretends to and now Hannity is sending his book proceeds there as well. I would imagine he'll receive the usual wingnut welfare and have conservative groups buying it up in mass and handing his books out for free to make sure it runs up the best sellers list in a manner it does not deserve.

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