Elsewhere online
December 12, 2014

Workers Say Red Cross Avoided 'Occupy Sandy' Relief Group

Red Cross workers involved in the charity's response to Superstorm Sandy tell ProPublica they were ordered not to cooperate with Occupy Sandy in the initial weeks after the October 2012 hurricane because Red Cross officials were concerned about the widely praised relief effort's connection to the Occupy Wall Street protest movement.

Three Red Cross responders who spoke to ProPublica on condition of anonymity said there was an explicit ban, which two attributed to the charity's Washington headquarters. The Red Cross said in a statement that "there was never at any time a policy prohibiting Red Cross staff or volunteers from working with Occupy Sandy" and that it linked the latter group with partners and provided meals and other supplies.

Fred Leahy, a Red Cross veteran who helped manage the group's Sandy response, said he and other Red Cross officials discussed "the political and donor ramifications of associating with Occupy Sandy" but that there was no direct ban. Occupy Sandy organizers said they reached out to the Red Cross in the immediate aftermath of the storm and got no response, but some of the charity's workers assisted them behind the scenes.