Debbie Schlussel has just posted a disturbing story credibly alleging serious financial improprieties at Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concerts.
[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.
It’s of course possible that this is a misunderstanding or mistake by Schlussel.
If mistaken, one would assume we’ll hear a defense from Hannity himself or his many admirers. If not mistaken, you’d assume we’d hear some kind of reaction from conservatives – and some kind of explanation/apology from Hannity. It’s not possible – is it? – that the conservative world will just pass by the affair in embarrassed silence?
True, Schlussel’s piece went up yesterday evening, and as of 9 am I can find no mention or reference in the conservative blogosphere. But its early.
So here’s my personal query. I’m going to set my google alert and twitter feed to find Hannity items. If anybody who can plausibly be considered a conservative discusses – even mentions – the Schlussel allegations, I’ll let you know. And if nobody does … well that’s not possible. Is it?
UPDATE: First mention! TheNextRight’s blogger RBIII tweets at 9:38 AM.
Apparently, allegations about Hannity are more important than that shredding of the Constitution if you’re a ‘Progressive.’
Posted at 9:44am
UPDATE 2: Here‘s John Tabin at the American Spectator blog:
As Schlussel points out, reputable charities are expected to run with overhead of no more than 25%; these concerts are running with overhead of as much as 96%. I suppose it’s possible that Hannity himself wasn’t aware of what the balance sheet looks like, but a source tells Schlussel that Freedom Alliance founder Oliver North confronted Hannity at one point about how much of the charity’s money was being spent on private jets, luxury SUVs, and hotel suite. If that’s true, Hannity has a lot of explaining to do.
Posted at 11:20am
UPDATE 3: John Tabin updates his report at AmSpec:
“I’m hearing from reliable sources that Schlussel’s suggestion that Freedom Alliance pays for Hannity’s travel expenses is wrong. There’s little doubt that, if the numbers she cites are correct, the charity is seriously mismanaged, but it might not be as bad for Hannity personally as Schlussel’s report makes it look. Stay tuned.”
Posted at 1:45pm
UPDATE 4: Freedom Alliance has released a statement responding to Debbie Schlussel’s allegations.
Posted at 3:00pm