Right Wing Eats Itself Over Sean Hannity's CharityS

A right-wing blogger went through tax returns for Hannity's Freedom Concerts, performances to raise money for veterans and their children. She alleged that most of the money goes on lavish expenses. The charity, and other bloggers, fought back. Conservative fight!

The blogger, Debbie Schlussel, has some history with Hannity. In 2007 she accused him of ripping off her reporting (or something) in this screed.

Schlussel says she was acting on a second-hand tip from a friend who had spoken to a friend at Fox News and alleged that, for the performances, Hannity got the use of "a Gulfstream 5 plane to fly him and his family/entourage to the concerts; a "fleet" (that's the word the guy used) of either Cadillac or Lincoln SUVs for him and his family/entourage; and several suites at really expensive hotels for him and his family/entourage. The promoter apparently values Hannity's star demands at well over $200,000 per event."

When she dug into the tax returns she found that in 2006 Freedom Alliance, the Oliver North-backed charity affiliated with the concerts, reported revenue of $10,822,785. But that only $397,900, or 3.68 per cent, went to troops or the children of troops while 62 per cent "went to "expenses," including $979,485 for "consultants" and an "advisor." ... The tax forms show that "New World Aviation" got paid $60,601 for "air travel." ... And finally, that year, Freedom Alliance spent $1,730,816 on postage and shipping and $1,414,215 on printing, for a total of $3,145,031."

She found similar patterns in the returns from 2007 and 2008. Freedom Alliance has issued a response denying all of Schlussel's claims. She counters that they're now merely redefining the spending. Other right-wing bloggers respond that the reason so little money has been paid out is that it's being held in a college fund for the children of veterans.

It's almost impossible, unless you're an accountant or an expert on heated 'I love our troops more' right-wing feuds, to figure out whether Hannity is corrupt or Schlussel has an axe to grind. Or neither. Or both. But if you have any (non-rant-based) information to share, email at the address below.

UPDATE: The inevitable David Frum weighs in and backs... Hannity. His case is fairly convincing.