Maybe you have heard of the Freedom Concerts put on by Sean Hannity and his bud Ollie North. Perhaps not.
The announced aim of the concerts are "to benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund for the children of America's military heroes."
A close look, however, calls into question just what the Freedom Alliance Scholarship" is actually getting.
The Daily Kos (I think this may actually be the first time I've quoted that blog) reports,
"After weaving through voluminous amounts of carefully crafted, parsed language and following up on the reporting of news hounds and a daily kos diarist it appears that Sean Hannity and Oliver North are using the name of dead American soldiers to garner profits for a right wing organization masquerading as a charity."
Are we surprised?
Tickets cost generally $50. Four dollars of that is sent to the Freedom Alliance which in turn only spends a fraction of the incoming revenues on the scholarship fund. The families of soldiers, it seems actually get less than 1% of the money forked out by those attending these shindigs.
By the way, in case you wondered, Freedom Alliance, an educational and charitable foundation, was founded in 1990 by LtCol Oliver L. North, who now serves as the organization's honorary chairman. On its website the Alliance states up front what it is all about:
"While there has been a liberal domination of the institutions of the federal government, the media and college campuses, Freedom Alliance has worked diligently to educate concerned citizens across the nation to the dangers of a growing federal government and an expansion of international institutions whose policies and influence adversely impact U.S. policy."
Thanks goes to One People's Project for the following.
A LETTER YOU CAN SEND TO SIX FLAGS REGARDING HANNITY'S 'FREEDOM CONCERT'
Written by One People's Project
There is a little more than a month to go before Sean Hannity and Ollie North exploit not only the troops but Sept. 11 with one of their "Freedom Concerts" scheduled to take place at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. To that end, we are providing a letter you can print out and send or email to the general manager of Six Flags that draws attention to the concerns many people have with these concerts. This is why we cannot be part of the mainstream liberal circles. When we see something foul being done we want something done about it, even if it means us taking the initative. Let's take a look at this scenario. We have a radio talk-s--t host who never served in any branch of the military, who attacks those that did if they have a D next to their name and questions their integrity, even if they go to Iraq and either fought or lent support to the troops. When he is called out on his radio show in Dec. 2004 by a caller for not going over there himself, he says he was never asked to and that the liberals force themselves upon the troops (Al Franken was asked by the USO, by the way and is well-received). It takes him two friggin' years to actually make it there, and what does this moron do? Try to get those troops to say something bad about John Kerry! His partner in these concerts disgraced his rank and his uniform by committing treasonous acts that were forgiven because of the R next to his name, so while the rest of the country is telling him to go to hell, he is embraced by that right-wing who could care less. Together, they purport to raise money for the families of injured and fallen soldiers when it seems that this money is a little slow in reaching those families. There are dozens of other charities that you can trust will take care of those soldiers and their families, and we ask that you support them. We provided links to them along with the letter.
Six Flags Great Adventure
Attn: Mark Kane, General Manager
P.O. Box 120
1 Six Flags Blvd.
Jackson, NJ 08527
Dear Mr. Kane,
I am writing to ask that you reevaluate your hosting the of the annual Hannity Freedom Concert on Sept. 11. The money raised from this concert supports an untrustworthy organization headed by an ex-convict.
The Hannity Freedom Concert raises money for the Freedom Alliance, a group whose stated purpose is to provide scholarships to the children of injured and fallen soldiers. This is a worthy cause but a closer look at the Freedom Alliance raises several concerns.
First, the Freedom Alliance only puts about 55% of the money it raises towards its programs, meaning just a little more than half of the money they bring in is going towards these scholarships. Most charities put at least 75% towards their programs. Meanwhile, nearly 40% of the Freedom Alliance's funds are spent on fundraising expenses, which is more than twice what most groups spend. In fact, Charity Navigator, an independent charity evaluator, gave the group zero out of four stars in the area of efficiency. Clearly, the Freedom Alliance cannot be trusted to manage its own funds.
Even more startling is that the group's founder and honorary chairman is Oliver North. North was a key player in the disgraceful Iran-contra scandal and was convicted of accepting illegal gratuity, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and destruction of documents. This is certainly not a person I'd trust with my money.
Instead of hosting the Hannity Freedom Concert and supporting the Freedom Alliance, there are several other charities that are worthy of support. Below are some charities that support the troops. I urge that you instead support these charities and discontinue the annual Hannity Freedom Concert.
Help for the Wounded
Angels Of Mercy
Azalea Charities Aid for Wounded Soldiers
Coalition to Salute America's Heroes
Comfort for America's Uniformed Services Elite
Helping Our Heroes Foundation
Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
Wounded Warrior Project
Homes for Disabled Troops
Fisher House Foundation
Homes for our Troops
Scholarships for Military Children
Scholarships for Military Children
Special Operations Warrior Foundation
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
Military Heroes Fund
America Supports You
Gold Star Families for Peace
Veterans for Peace
Operation We Care