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Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concerts Are Looking Like They’re One Big Con

by @ 1:15 pm on March 19, 2010. Filed under Politicos & Pundits, Politics, Sean Hannity

Conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel has taken a look at Sean Hannity’s much-hyped, by himself at least, Freedom Concerts, and finds that things don’t appear to be kosher at all:

[L]ess than 20%–and in two recent years, less than 7% and 4%, respectively–of the money raised by Freedom Alliance went to these causes, while millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferret the Hannity posse of family and friends in high style. And, 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, while 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, has begun charging expenses of nearly $500,000 to give out just over $800,000 in scholarships.

(…)
According to its 2006 tax returns, Freedom Alliance reported revenue of $10, 822, 785, but only $397,900–or a beyond-measly 3.68%–of that was given to the children of fallen troops as scholarships or as aid to severely injured soldiers.

(…)

Freedom Alliance’s 2007 tax returns aren’t much better. Out of $12,459,317 it raised that year, only $895,347–or just 7%–went to seriously wounded troops and scholarships for fallen troops. 53% went to expenses, including $1,464,627 in postage and $1,151,428 in printing. $604,995 went to “professional fees” and “consultants.” Out of millions paid for Freedom Concert tickets and raised in fundraisers by Hannity listeners, only $596,500 went to college scholarships for soldiers who died in battle, and only $299,897 went to horribly injured troops. 208 student children of the fallen got an average of $2,868 apiece for tuition, though many got only $1,000 or less. 382 soldiers with serious injuries got an average of $785 each.

On the other hand, 62% of the money went to “expenses,” including $979,485 for “consultants” and an “advisor.” Yes, consultant/advisors got more than double what injured troops and the kids of fallen troops got. The tax forms show that “New World Aviation” got paid $60,601 for “air travel.” Was that for Hannity’s G5? Like I said, neither the charity nor Hannity is talking. And finally, that year, Freedom Alliance spent $1,730,816 on postage and shipping and $1,414,215 on printing, for a total of $3,145,031, nearly half the revenue the charity spent that year and about eight times what the injured troops and the children of fallen ones received.

As Schussel points out, reputable charities have overhead of approximately 25%, the Freedom Concert’s overhead is closer to 96%. That’s not a charity, its a self-promotion tool.

If this is true, it’s pretty disgusting, especially from a man who claims to be a friend of the troops and self-proclaimed “great American”

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7 Responses to “Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concerts Are Looking Like They’re One Big Con”

  1. Chris M. says:

    Is this really all that surprising? These guys are talk-show hosts. They sell books and speak for fees. They’re neither intellectuals nor thought-leaders, instead regurgitating some cheap lines or talking points. Just like Oprah or whoever, they’re personality cults. You said it right: if this is accurate, Hannity is taking advantage of the people that want to help their service men and women to bolster his own image and that’s just unforgivable.

  2. James Young says:

    Turns out it was a smear. See here (http://www.freedomalliance.org/images/pdf_and_largepics/freedom_alliance_response.pdf) and here (http://www.frumforum.com/hannitized-is-sanitized).

    Perhaps you’ll publicize that at least as prominently as you publicized the smear, Doug.

  3. Yes, because self-serving responses are always trustworthy.

    I will wait for an independent source to explain why so little of the money they raise actually goes to the cause they claim to support.

  4. Marvin says:

    if this is true, shouldn’t this be illegal?

  5. James Young says:

    Oh, c’mon, Doug! It’s perfectly reasonable, and if you don’t recognize that, you’re less informed than you pretend to be.

  6. [...] I posted about allegations made by a conservative blogger of irregularities in the fundraising and operations of Se…run by a group called Freedom Alliance. So, it’s only fair that I note that Freedom Alliance [...]

  7. [...] recognized the world over, really. For this we congratulate Mr. Hannity for his good deeds— even if almost none of the money raised by his organization is actually going to any injured troop or family member of said injured troop. [...]

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