Elsewhere online
June 02, 2016

Group Tied to Fundraising Inquiry Among Trump Beneficiaries

A Michigan veterans charity that has come under scrutiny for its relationship with a much-investigated fundraising company was among 40 groups to which Donald Trump steered donations to his January rally to benefit veterans, The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press report. The Foundation for American Veterans received $75,000 of the $5.6 million the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said Tuesday he had raised to aid former service members at the campaign-trail event.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson last week announced a lawsuit against telemarketer Associated Community Services over its practices in soliciting for the West Bloomfield, Mich.-based charity. According to Ms. Swanson, the foundation devotes about 10 percent of its donations to veterans programs, with most of the rest going to Associated, which has been the target of regulators in several states.

Mr. Trump offered the first detailed accounting of fruits of the televised January benefit at a Tuesday press conference at which he railed against reporters for digging into his philanthropic claims, including his assertion four months ago that he had given $1 million of his own money. According to the Associated Press, checks to many of the charities, including the $1 million recipient, were dated May 24, one day after a Washington Post raised questions about whether the money raised at the rally had been distributed.

Another $75,000 recipient, Freedom Alliance, has longtime ties to Fox News host Sean Hannity, a Trump supporter who defended the candidate’s giving to veterans on his show Tuesday night, The Washington Post writes. Mr. Hannity did not make mention on the air of his connection to the charity, which has received middling ratings from Charity Navigator and CharityWatch over the proportion of revenue it spends on mission programming.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and her family donated $105,000 to veterans causes from 2006 to 2012, reports The New York Times. The gifts came from the family’s personal charity, not the more prominent Clinton Foundation. The Times’s data-reporting blog, the Upshot, looks at veterans-related giving by U.S. billionaires, noting that while the cause is not particularly popular among the super-rich, several moguls have made eight- or nine-figure donations to support veterans charities.