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Author Topic: American Red Cross "trade secrets" about how it solicits and spends donations?  (Read 752 times)


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You cannot make this stuff up folks! :tellme: From an article on the ProPublica website:

Red Cross: How We Spent Sandy Money Is a ‘Trade Secret’

The charity is fighting our public records request for information on how it raised and spent money after the superstorm.

by Justin Elliott
ProPublica, June 26, 2014, 11:38 a.m.

Just how badly does the American Red Cross want to keep secret how it raised and spent over $300 million after Hurricane Sandy?

The charity has hired a fancy law firm to fight a public request we filed with New York state, arguing that information about its Sandy activities is a "trade secret."

The Red Cross' "trade secret" argument has persuaded the state to redact some material, though it's not clear yet how much since the documents haven't yet been released.

As we've reported, the Red Cross releases few details about how it spends money after big disasters. That makes it difficult to figure out whether donor dollars are well spent.

The Red Cross did give some information about Sandy spending to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had been investigating the charity. But the Red Cross declined our request to disclose the details.

So we filed a public records request for the information the Red Cross provided to the attorney general's office.

That's where the law firm Gibson Dunn comes in.

An attorney from the firm's New York office appealed to the attorney general to block disclosure of some of the Sandy information, citing the state Freedom of Information Law's trade secret exemption. <more>

Some related articles:

1) Long After Sandy, Red Cross Post-Storm Spending Still a Black Box

2) N.Y. Attorney General Pressed Red Cross on Post-Sandy Spending, Then Retreated


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Raising money, maybe.

But I'd have thought the Accounting side of the fence had enough teeth in it. I don't know what the status of the Red Cross is per required audits to maintain their charity status. But back when that profession was simpler I think you used to have to do that. Then you just get the auditor's report.

But someone's been sending memos lately that it's fun and profitable to re-write the hard work our last two generations put into anti-fraud regs.