Politics & Policy

Old Hannity Smear Making a Reappearance in Ohio

Remember how a few months ago liberal blogs were all a-twitter (no pun intended) over how Sean Hannity was (supposedly) taking money from a group called Freedom Alliance that (supposedly) had a political ax to grind beyond its charity work? Evidently the Ohio Democratic Party thinks this attack line will work a second time. RedState.com has the details:

The Freedom Alliance supports soldiers and their children. Sean Hannity’s work for the Freedom Alliance has been invaluable — raising more than $10 million.

Recently, in Ohio, former congressman John Kasich, now running for Governor of Ohio, appeared with Sean Hannity at one of the Freedom Concerts held to benefit the Alliance.

The Democrat response? Attack and try to discredit the Freedom Alliance. The Democrats are trying to make toxic the act of associating with a charity that supports the children of fallen soldiers.[…]

Note also that the Democrats are reporting that the Freedom Concerts and Freedom Alliance are being investigated. The basis of the allegation? The supposedly nonpartisan CREW filed a complaint.

But they are anything but nonpartisan. CREW is filled with typical leftwing hackery designed to gin up media stories attacking the right.

What do the Ohio Dems think they can gain from this? For an answer to that, look at the press release the Dems sent out about it:

While over 2,256 Ohio Democrats convened for the State Dinner in Columbus on Saturday night, Congressman John Kasich joined FOX News host Sean Hannity to promote Hannity’s scandal-ridden “Freedom Alliance” concerts that are under investigation for misappropriating charitable donations.

Earlier this year, the non-partisan Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked the Federal Trade Commission and Internal Revenue Service to look into Freedom Alliance for claiming that all concert proceeds would be used for scholarships for children of veterans killed or wounded in war, as well as engaging in political activities that are prohibited under its tax-exempt status. [POLITICO, 3/29/10]

According to CREW: “In addition to overstating its total scholarship expenditures, a disproportionally small percentage of Freedom Alliance’s annual budget has gone to scholarships… from 2003 to 2008 Freedom Alliance awarded $2,147,750 in scholarships. During the same period, the organization spent twice that amount on salaries and nearly quadruple that amount on shipping expenses: $4.7 million and $8.1 million respectively. In addition, in 2008 alone, Freedom Alliance paid two fundraising firms a total of $2,696,739, more than they have given in scholarships from 2003 to 2008.” [CREW Federal Trade Commission Complaint 3/29/2010]

“Congressman Kasich tried to slash $7 billion from veterans programs in Congress and proposed quadrupling what our veterans would have to pay for prescriptions. He wanted to cut benefits for veterans who no longer have the mental capacity to care from themselves, putting veterans who suffered head wounds and mental traumas at risk,” said [Ohio Democratic Party] chairman Chris Redfern. “And once again, Congressman Kasich is turning his back on our veterans by participating in a scheme that deceives patriots, while lining the pockets of Sean Hannity’s friends.” The investigation by CREW is not the only time the Freedom Alliance has been scrutinized for its spending and fraudulent claims. In 2007, the American Institute of Philanthropy gave the Freedom Alliance a failing grade as a charity. [“The Ed Show with Ed Schultz,” MSNBC, 3/30/10]

“This is a matter of judgment,” Redfern said. “Congressman Kasich has tried to deceive Ohioans about his role at Lehman Brothers and now he’s doing the same with this discredited scheme,” Redfern said. “Ohioans don’t deserve this kind of dishonesty in someone who is trying to lead this state.”

Readers are invited to try and find an answer to what the Democrats are trying to accomplish with this press release in the text, but that is a difficult task. Clearly, it’s meant to be an attack on corruption, but has only the flimsiest link and most round-about way of explaining itself. It’s not clear whether one is supposed to dislike John Kasich for being corrupt, for appearing with Sean Hannity, or for wanting to cut veterans’ benefits. But, here in Ohio, guilt-by-association season has officially begun.


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