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Racket: SPLC Paid $1.8 Million to Fundraising Outfit That Gives Charities Zero Percent After Expenses

A map of organizations across the United States which the Southern Poverty Law Center considers "hate groups."

In 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a far-Left defamation racket connected to at least one terror attack, paid $1.8 million to a liberal fundraising outfit that admitted it tells prospective donors it sends 100 percent of donations to charities it fundraises for, while it really yields a zero percent return for those charities.

The SPLC's Form 990 from 2015 listed "Grassroots Campaigns, Inc." (GCI) in Boston, Mass. as its top independent contractor. The nonprofit paid GCI $1,803,961 in 2015 for "canvasser" services. Later on in the form, the SPLC listed GCI on its "fundraising activities" section. The nonprofit reported paying $1,811,174 for "canvassing" services, and only receiving $623,596 in return — a net loss of $1,187,578.

Such losses are not uncommon, according to a 2011 exposé on GCI published by SF Weekly. The paper's Taylor Friedman reported that canvassers for GCI pound the pavement in t-shirts advertising Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. They try to convince people on the street to contribute to these organizations, and if a prospective donor asks how much of his or her donation goes to Planned Parenthood, the canvasser says, "100 percent."

This is a lie, Friedman reported. "In fact, most of the nonprofits are expected to receive zero percent after expenses — as was the case eight out of nine times in California last year," the SF Weekly reporter wrote. "GCI's charity clients rarely make any revenue during a campaign, and may not see returns for years down the line. Yet GCI and the charities it works for continue to defend the '100 percent goes to the nonprofit' claim."

Why does GCI continue to defend the claim? Because it sends the money directly to the nonprofit — right before it sends them the bill. As Friedman noted, California law stipulates that "all of the money GCI collects must initially be placed in the nonprofit's custody." Then GCI charges the nonprofit, and it usually charges at least as much as it raised.

"Just one small caveat people on the street never hear: GCI bills the charity, usually on a weekly basis, and that bill could total thousands of dollars," Friedman explained.

Here's the beef: "Telling people that 100 percent of their donations will go to charity is akin to telling restaurant patrons that meals are free ... until the check arrives."

According to SF Weekly, GCI freely admitted — in publicly accessible documents — that the fundraising outfit estimates a net return of zero percent to charities it works with. Question 11 on the Massachusetts Attorney General's Form 10A asks commercial fundraisers, "If prospective contributors ask how much of their contributions will go to the charitable organization, what will they be told?"