Would You Give To Any Charity That Gave So Little To The People It Was Claiming To Help?

The Clinton Foundation has been in the news a lot lately. There are some real questions as to what some of the donations actually bought or why they were given. Now there are some real questions as to how wisely the money was spent.

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted an article about the expenditures of the Clinton Foundation. The article reports:

Charity Navigator, who we have on the show all the time, placed the Clinton Foundation on a watch list,” she ( Fox Business Network’s “The Willis Report,” host Gerri Willis) continued. “They think there are problems with this non-profit.” She added, “Any Democrat—they say what a wonderful charitable organization it is doing to help people in need, people who are hungry, people who have AIDS. Listen, 6 percent of the money it collected in 2013, 6 percent — $9 million, of the $140 million in total it collected, went to help people.”

Washington Free Beacon’s Liz Harrington weighed in saying, “The numbers just don’t add up. One of the biggest offenses of the Clinton Foundation came out yesterday — 88 percentof the their expenditures go directly to their charitable programs. That is just simply not true. As you mentioned, they raked in $140 million. They only spent nine million on direct aid. Most of their money goes towards salaries, bonuses, to close friends, folks tied to the Clinton campaign.”

Willis read the $140 million 2013 spending breakdown from the New York Post, saying, “Here is a list of foundation spending—where the money goes: $30 million on payroll expenses, $9.2 to conferences and meetings, fundraising — $8 million. Nearly $8.5 million on travel.”

Unfortunately this problem is not unique to the Clinton Foundation. It is a good idea to do some research before you give to any organization in order to find out how much of your gift will actually be spent on the mission of the organization. Charity Navigator rates charities according to their financial transparency and overhead. For example, Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey is rated at 89.62, the American Red Cross is rated at 85.25, and Operation Blessing is rated at 92.12. The Charity Navigator has placed the Clinton Foundation on a watch list. That says it all.

A Bad Law Made For Good Reasons

Garage sale

Image via Wikipedia

An American dollar says on it, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” Well, not so fast. KLFY News in Louisiana is reporting:

House bill 195 basically says those who buy and sell second hand goods cannot use cash to make those transactions, and it flew so far under the radar most businesses don’t even know about it.

“We’re gonna lose a lot of business,” says Danny Guidry, who owns the Pioneer Trading Post in Lafayette. He deals in buying and selling unique second hand items.

The purpose of the law is to make tracking those who steal things and sell them easier to track. However, the law of unintended consequences is at work. The law includes Goodwill, garage sales, flea markets, and second-hand stores such as the Pioneer Trading Post. Pawn shops, which have been forced to keep records of their clients for years, are still allowed to accept cash.

The intention of the law is good, but I don’t understand why Goodwill stores or garage sales would be included. Goodwill does not pay people to donate things, so even if they receive stolen goods (which is highly unlikely) the only trace mechanism they would have would be to track those who bought the goods, which would be irrelevant. Garage sales are also an unlikely target. Again, if the goods are stolen, it would be the seller, not the buyer that would be the culprit, so why trace the buyer?

I understand the problem, I am simply not convinced that this is the way to solve it.



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