Hannitized is Sanitized

Debbie Schlussel posted a long piece last evening about a charity that Sean Hannity is affiliated with, accusing them of malfeasance and mismanagement.

FrumForum has done an exhaustive investigation of the charity in question, Freedom Alliance, and found enough evidence to substantially rebut each of Schlussel’s claims. I’ll approach them one by one.


Schlussel Accusation: Sean Hannity improperly benefited from Freedom Alliance by charging private jets, hotel stays and luxury cars.

Freedom Alliance’s press release today stated categorically that they have “never provided planes, hotels, cars, limos, or anything else to Sean [Hannity] … to be clear Sean pays for all his own transportation, hotels, and all related expenses for himself and his family and friends and staff.” We are satisfied that this is true.

It is true that Freedom Alliance spent $60,000 on aviation services in 2006, but there is no evidence that this was for Sean Hannity’s benefit, and it seems unlikely that the money was used to lease a Gulfstream 5. Rates for G5 aircraft average around $8,000 an hour. $60,000 would not buy much at that rate.

We have also been able to confirm that Sean Hannity has no operational control over the organization. Nor is he even a member of the group’s board.

If Schlussel stands behind her statement, then she will have to do better than a quote from a blind source, who is, as she admits, a friend of a friend.


Schlussel Accusation: Too Little of Freedom Alliance’s Spending Has Gone to Program Outcomes.

FrumForum has intensively investigated Freedom Alliance’s 990 Forms, which have been submitted to the IRS and checked by an independent auditor.

Debbie Schlussel alleges that only $1 million of the organization’s $8.8 million in revenue was going to soldiers and scholarships in 2008. This figure is the product of a misleading and selective reading of the organization’s tax forms.

The numbers that Schlussel cite refer to direct financial transfers to individuals – that is, if there is a direct grant that Freedom Alliance gives to a soldier. This does not include all the positive work that doesn’t involve a direct grant.

Freedom Alliance also spends money on non-cash benefits for military families, involving things like taking soldiers to sporting events and sending care packages to troops.

The highest paid employee earned $152,000 in 2006. The second highest paid employee earned $83,000. In 2007, Freedom Alliance spent about $1 in $7 on salary and benefits.

Total staffing costs may seem high, but they are not out of line with what is spent at many other charities. For example, the Armed Services branch of the YMCA spent about $1 in $2 on salaries and benefits in 2008.

Read the rest at  Hannitized is Sanitized | FrumForum.

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