The 9/11 Charities Mess

Video: To watch "the memo" click here.

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.

A lot to tell you about this evening, including a new twist in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping.

But first, the Talking Points Memo about the 9/11 charity situation.

You may remember The Factor took plenty of heat last fall reporting the failings of the Red Cross and the United Way and other 9/11 charities.

Now, in a brilliant seven-page article by The Washington Post, the picture is clear.  Americans donated $2.3 billion after the 9/11 attack, and only 29 cents on the dollar has gone directly to the grieving families.  According to the "Post," almost $1 billion remains in charity bank accounts, and that money has not been designated, which means the charities can do whatever they want with it.

Some examples.  The Red Cross Liberty Fund has collected $967 million and spent $567 million bringing relief to those directly affected by 9/11, not just the families, but all of those people.  That means that $400 million is sitting in the Red Cross account earning interest.

The United Way's September 11 Fund has collected more than $456 million, much of that during the telethon.  But $180 million remains in the bank, and more than $200 million has been given by the United Way to other charities, and we don't know exactly where that money went.

Are you getting the picture?

The head of the IRS, which is supposed to oversee nonprofit organizations, says his office doesn't have the manpower to monitor the situation.  And, The Post reports, a full accounting of the $2.3 billion might be impossible because there is no central databank.

From the very beginning, The Factor has been telling you that your donations may or may not go where you intended them to go.  Now there's proof, and at this point, our government is not going to do anything about it.

Let me repeat the most important points.  Only 29 cents on the donated dollar has reached the 9/11 families, and almost a billion dollars is sitting in the bank with no future designation.

The Washington Post has also discovered some lunacy.  For example, The New York Times set up a fund after 9/11, and $25,000 of that went to the Jewish Museum of New York for a program on tolerance for Islam.

Talking Points once again is asking our federal government to get involved here.  Obviously there's an accountability problem with all the money, and obviously the IRS can't handle the situation.  And while some charities are doing the right thing, others are not.  There's no doubt that some of your donated money is being misspent.

It's time for Congress to act and for the president to appoint a charity czar to oversee the money and hold the charities accountable.

This is an enormous problem and one that must be corrected.

More on the story a bit later on in the broadcast.  And that is The Memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day."

Pinellas Park High School on Florida's Gulf coast has an interesting section in its yearbook this spring, a four page spread on students who are pregnant.  Some parents and teachers think the section glorifies teen pregnancy.  Others think it points out the problems of unwed motherhood in your teens.  We think girls who get pregnant in high school need help, not media attention, no matter how well intended.  Having a baby should not be a status symbol in high school.  What's next, a class note for most likely to have kids before age 18?  Could be ridiculous.

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