I really don’t know what to think of this story. We know a lot of people who work for Move America Forward and we’ve had dealings with them over the past 5 or 6 years. But this is why I try to politely turn down your solicitations here. You just never know. According to ProPublica in Stars & Stripes the organization has misused the funds that they raised to support the troops. Actually, I don’t recognize any of the names in the article, which makes e feel a little better about our dealing with MAF.
An examination of its fundraising appeals, tax records and other documents shows that Move America Forward has repeatedly misled donors and inflated its charitable accomplishments, while funneling millions of dollars in revenue to the men behind the group and their political consulting firms.
In several instances, the charity has taken images and stories from other groups and from veterans themselves without permission to use in fundraising appeals.
Last year, Move America Forward even solicited funds by claiming a partnership with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the largest hospital for wounded servicemembers in the country. No such partnership existed, Defense Department officials say.
The driving force behind Move America Forward is Sal Russo, 67, the longtime political consultant who is listed on the 10-year-old charity’s tax returns as chief strategist.
Russo is better known for helping to form the Our Country Deserves Better PAC, also known as the Tea Party Express, one of the largest Tea Party groups in the country. Consultants from his Sacramento-based firm, Russo, Marsh and Associates, also set up two other PACs, the Move America Forward Freedom PAC and the Conservative Campaign Committee, to aid conservative causes and candidates.
Russo didn’t respond to questions from ProPublica. Danny Gonzalez, a spokesman for Move America Forward, did not answer questions either, instead providing a four-paragraph defense of the charity. “We are proud of the fact that we always appropriate our donor’s (sic) funds ethically and in the spirit of our mission to support the troops,” he said, adding that Move America Forward was currently preparing 2,000 boxes of care packages for shipping.
The article admits that MAF does indeed send packages to the troops.
But an examination of Move America Forward’s tax returns shows that it is deeply intertwined with Russo’s political enterprises and businesses, paying millions of dollars to him and his consulting firm.
According to its five most recent tax returns, Move America Forward paid out more than $2.3 million to Russo or Russo, Marsh and Associates for services including “program management and advertising.” That’s about 30 percent of the charity’s overall expenditures over that time.
They also complain that MAF has hijacked photos for their website from other charities and stock photos. MAF has always been pro-troop. They partnered a lot with Gathering of Eagles and you can find me at their rallies if you search hard enough on the blog. I remember that Jon Soltz didn’t like them very much when Melanie Morgan was running things. I know I used to have links to Melanie Morgan and to Move America Forward, but for some reason I don’t anymore so maybe I sensed something a long time ago that I’ve forgotten. *shrug*
So I don’t what to think about the whole thing.
Category: Support the troops