In her tirade against Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, Ashley Judd has chosen to be a mouthpiece for a very corrupt organization, The Defenders of Wildlife. She knows almost nothing about the conditions in Alaska which require wolf population reductions in order to preserve a viable breeding pool of Caribou and Moose.
The The Defenders of Wildlife CEO makes some $243,000 a year with a generous expense account. 43% of funds raised go to - guess what - fund raising! There are other highly paid staff members who receive free gym memberships near their jobs. Great benefits and I thought unemployment was up! The Defenders of Wildlife was one of 5 Environmentists group investigated by three congressmen in 2001 who found them to be fraudulent, corrupt and harmful to their stated purpose.
"Fund raising: fact and fancy
More than 160 million environmental fund-raising pitches swirled through the U.S. mail last year. Some used the power of cute animals to attract donors. The problem is that in many cases those campaigns were less than honest.
Green machine: Mission adrift in a frenzy of fund raising
(Second of five parts)
By Tom Knudson Bee Staff Writer (Published April 23, 2001)
Dear Friend,I need your help to stop an impending slaughter.Otherwise, Yellowstone National Park -- an American wildlife treasure -- could soon become a bloody killing field. And the victims will be hundreds of wolves and
defenseless wolf pups!
So begins a fund-raising letter from one of America's fastest-growing environmental groups -- Defenders of Wildlife.
Using the popular North American gray wolf as the hub of an ambitious campaign, Defenders has assembled a financial track record that would impress Wall Street.
In 1999, donations jumped 28 percent to a record $17.5 million. The group's net assets, a measure of financial stability, grew to $14.5 million, another record. And according to its 1999 annual report, Defenders spent donors' money wisely, keeping fund-raising and management costs to a lean 19 percent of expenses.
But there is another side to Defenders' dramatic growth.
Pick up copies of its federal tax returns and you'll find that its five highest-paid business partners are not firms that specialize in wildlife conservation. They are national direct mail and telemarketing companies -- the same ones that raise money through the mail and over the telephone for nonprofit groups, from Mothers Against Drunk Driving to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
You'll also find that in calculating its fund-raising expenses, Defenders borrows a trick from the business world. It dances with digits, finds opportunity in obfuscation. Using an accounting loophole, it classifies millions of dollars spent on direct mail and telemarketing not as fund raising but as public education and environmental activism."
Knudson's book, Environment, Inc. was written in 2001. Unfortunately the picture has grown much worse. These organization fit into a pattern of highly paid executives, naive and gullible college aged volunteers who do the work and publicity hungry celebrities who make commercials and public appeals for these organizations.
© Janet Crain
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