WASHINGTON DC (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Political blogger Debbie Schlussel has leveled allegations against political pundit Sean Hannity that his Freedom Concerts are a financial scam. Not true, says the The Freedom Alliance, who assert that the concerts, which spread from New Jersey to California with head liners including Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Charlie Daniels Band, are anything but. According to the Freedom Concert website, over $10M has been raised for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund since 2003 through the Freedom Concerts and generous donations from the Sean Hannity Show and its listeners. The Scholarship Fund is designated for the education of children of U.S. service members who have been killed or 100% permanently disabled in an operational mission or training accident. All net proceeds from ticket sales (after musical talent, production, promotion and venue expenses) are donated to the Scholarship Fund, aiding greatly in this effort to assist hundreds of families who have lost their loved ones while they were protecting and defending our nation and our freedoms.
Schlussel asserts on her blog that almost none of the money from these shows past reach the The Scholarship Fund. After viewing a 2008 tax return pertaining to the charity a mere 12% made it to the Scholarship Fund. Read her full transcripts here
This information wild fired through the blogosphere and the Freedom Alliance felt need to respond.
Response from Freedom Reliance:
Dear Friends of Freedom Alliance:
This week, false and malicious allegations about Freedom Alliance were posted on the Internet and we want to address them with you. We don’t know the motivation for these vicious smears, but we will not allow them to go unanswered.
First, we want to thank you for your support and assure you that Freedom Alliance’s record of financial stewardship and programmatic achievements not only meets, but exceeds standards of program efficiency set by most charity evaluators. We are extraordinarily proud of our work at Freedom Alliance and stand by our efforts 100 percent.
1. The blog posting accuses our friend Sean Hannity of personally benefiting from Freedom Alliance.
This is FALSE. Freedom Alliance has never provided planes, hotels, cars, limos, or anything else to Sean. Sean gets nothing from Freedom Alliance except our gratitude for his personal generosity and for all he has done to help the troops and our organization. We have never had to ask Sean for anything, he always generously offers his help before we have a chance to ask him. But to be clear Sean pays for all his own transportation, hotels, and all related expenses for himself and his family and friends and staff, which over the years has added up to tens of thousands of dollars. He does not use any Freedom Alliance Funds or Concert funds in any way, period.
2. Sean Hannity has contributed $100,000 to the Wounded Warriors Foundation, over $200,000 to the Freedom Alliance, and over tens of thousands of dollars to other military charities and individuals. We only make this information public because of the outrageous slander against him. Sean has no management or operational involvement in, or control over, Freedom Alliance. He has been a selfless patriot in his efforts to raise funds for the education of children of armed services personnel.
3. The blog posting accuses Freedom Alliance of spending less than 20% of money raised on program activities. This is FALSE. Listed below are the amounts that Freedom Alliance spent for each of the past three years and the categories on which they were spent. The figures are taken from our Federal Form 990 which is filed with the Internal Revenue Service and posted on our web site and audited by an independent auditor using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. This financial record not only meets, but exceeds standards of program efficiency set by most charity evaluators.
4. In 2008, Freedom Alliance spent a total of $6,745,717. Of that:
In 2007, Freedom Alliance spent a total of $7,461,350. Of that:
In 2006, Freedom Alliance spent a total of $7,064,839. Of that:
5. The blog posting accuses Freedom Alliance of spending money intended for student scholarships on other expenses. This is FALSE. Freedom Alliance has distributed $3.4 million in Scholarships and created a Scholarship Trust Fund with the additional money that we have raised for that program. That fund now contains $15 million, over $10 million of which has been raised by Hannity and the concerts. Our scholarship program is managed with the understanding that it will be needed for at least the next 20 years as there are children who will ultimately receive a scholarship who are now only a few years old. As indicated on our Federal Form 990, these funds are restricted and used only for future scholarships.
6. Our Scholarship Fund is one of four programs operated by Freedom Alliance. Supporters may donate to a specific program or for general operating purposes. In 2008, Freedom Alliance received $2.1 million in scholarship donations. The same year, we awarded $802,250 in scholarships and applied $1.3 million to our Scholarship Trust Fund. The funds donated by Sean Hannity directly — or through the proceeds of the Freedom Concerts — and the support of thousands of Americans are used for these purposes:
Providing scholarships to those whose parents have been killed or severely injured in their service to our Country. There is now over $15 million in the scholarship fund for the students as they come of age.
Many events each year are planned and executed by our staff to show appreciation and provide special opportunities for those actively serving in the military.
A program for high school students in which they are encouraged and trained to serve their country.
These programs would not be possible without the support of Mr. Hannity and many others.
We are proud of our work and numerous accomplishments. We are grateful to our supporters whose voluntary contributions make it possible and we thank you. While it is discouraging to have our record misrepresented in such a malicious way, our work is important and, with your support, it will continue.
Thomas P. Kilgannon
Oliver L. North
Founder & Honorary Chairman
–by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers