First of all, a big salute to the nation's postal workers, who continue to deliver the mail despite this anthrax business. We should all thank these courageous men and women in person.
Now we consider two huge mistakes America is making. As you know, THE FACTOR has been reporting on the money being raised to help the families of the victims. Hundreds of these families have contacted us, saying they're desperate for help, help that is very slow in coming.
"The New York Post" is reporting that less than 10 percent of the money raised has been distributed so far. That's 41 days after the attacks. Things are chaotic, to say the least. The Tribute to Heroes telethon that all the networks ran resulted in $150 million in pledges. Less than a quarter of that money has actually been collected, and a good portion of that money that has been collected is being paid to people working for the charities — right now, there are 160 separate charities — trucking costs, warehouse costs, check-writing costs, utilities, phones, on and on.
What is desperately needed here is federal oversight. The state of New York simply can't handle it.
Attorney General Elliot Spitzer will not come on THE FACTOR. His staff tells us he doesn't have the power to police the charities. They say he's encouraging cooperation among the money-raisers and is meeting with them daily. Mr. Spitzer also says that it will take until next year for his office to get any paperwork from the charities.
In the meantime, those charities do whatever they want to do with no oversight at all.
Governor Pataki simply will not address the issue. His staff says he is unavailable to THE FACTOR, but he's been available to just about every other news program on the face of the Earth.
And of course, he showed up at the benefit rock concert at Madison Square Garden over the weekend. You're seeing him right there now.
Mr. Pataki has the power to issue direct orders, executive orders, to the charities that do business in New York. He has chosen not to do so. He can get an accountant. He can get what they're going to do. We want to know why he hasn't done that.
And one side note, I've always respected Governor Pataki, had a good relationship with him in the past, but this time I am deeply disappointed as a journalist, as an American and as a New Yorker. I know some of these people. They need help.
The governor needs to step up on this issue, and fast. Because the state of New York is simply too timid, THE FACTOR believes federal oversight is the only solution to this growing problem. Families are suffering. Charities have cash. And politicians are hiding.
I'm going to continue pounding the table until something gets done, and I hope you will, too. We'll have more on this in a few moments. And that's a memo.
Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Not a good weekend for Hillary Clinton. When she showed up at the Madison Square Garden concert for the victims' families, she got booed, and booed hard. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, got a much better reception, which may or may not be ridiculous, depending on your view of the Clintons.
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