The National Vietnam Veterans Foundation raised more than $29 million to benefit veterans. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
When you find out the foundation only gave 2 percent of that money to vets, your opinion might change.
And when you find out the foundation is headed up by two military veterans, President Thomas Burch and Vice President David Kaufman – one of whom is currently a lawyer for the Department of Veterans Affairs (who drives a Rolls Royce!), you might even get a little hot under the collar.
CNN reports that,
At first glance, the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation is a roaring success. According to its tax filings, the charity has received more than $29 million in donations from generous Americans from 2010 to 2014 for what it calls on its website “aiding, supporting and benefiting America’s veterans and their families.”
But look a little closer on those same filings and you can see that nearly all of those donations have been cycled back to telemarketers, leaving less than 2 percent for actual veterans and veterans’ charitable causes.That’s why Charity Navigator, one of the nation’s largest and most influential charity watchdog organizations, has given the charity a “zero” out of four stars for those same four years.“It’s a zero-star organization and you can’t go lower than that,” says Michael Thatcher, Charity Navigator’s CEO. “They don’t have an independent board of directors, they actually don’t even have a comprehensive board of directors — only three members on the board at this point in time and some of them are family. So one can say, is this representative of an independent board? It’s not.”The charity’s most recently filed tax return, for 2014, lists a catalogue of expenses paid for by donations: including $133,000 for travel, $21,000 for unnamed “awards”, $70,000 for a category described as “other expenses” and even a little more than $8,000 for parking.
The CEO and founder of the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation, himself a veteran, is J. Thomas Burch, who is also a federal employee working as an attorney for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Burch is deputy director in the VA’s Office of General Counsel, where he pulled down $127,000 in salary in 2014. That’s the same year he drew a salary of $65,000 as head of his “zero-star” charity.A VA spokesman told CNN Burch’s position at the veteran’s charity is not a conflict of interest “per se”. But the spokesman added the VA is now “reviewing” the situation and that the agency’s Office of Inspector General is handling that review.When contacted by CNN, Burch asked that we not contact him at his job at the Department of Veterans Affairs, but he refused to answer phone calls placed to his home. CNN tried to confront Burch as he drove home from work in a black Rolls Royce, but upon seeing a CNN camera crew, Burch gunned the Rolls Royce down his suburban Washington, D.C. street and disappeared.
What do you think of these men driving around in Rolls Royce’s while the Vietnam Veterans they pretend to help suffer?