Thursday, January 17, 2008

Veterans' Charity Target of Congressional Investigation

The Washington Post reports that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subpoenaed the President of Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV)to testify at a hearing earlier today.  The hearing is part of an ongoing investigation by the Committee of veterans' charities but focused in particular on HHV President Roger Chapin.  The article states that Mr. Chapin has founded over 20 nonprofit organizations over the past 30 years, at least one of which (the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes) is also under congressional investigation.

A memo prepared by the Committee's Majority Staff states that while Mr. Chapin's charities raised more than $168 million in donations from 2004 through 2006, only approximately 25% of those funds were spent on goods and services for veterans.  The charities spent the remainder on fundraising, administration, salaries and other expenses, including $1.5 million in compensation for Mr. Chapin and his wife and over $340,000 for their expenses.  The fundraising expenses included millions of dollars paid to direct mail companies owned by Richard Viguerie, who the Washington Post article describes as "a prominent conservative political commentator and advertising consultant."  Mr. Viguerie also testified before the Committee today, as did California Senior Assistant Attorney General Belinda J. Johns.


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