And it has a history of sending out mailers that raise serious ethical questions—and that may prey on senior citizens with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Citizens United, David Bossie, and the Trump campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story….
Charity Navigator, a non-ideological organization that tracks philanthropies’ spending, gives Citizens United an unfortunate one-star rating—meaning donors should be wary about contributing to it, because it doesn’t use money efficiently. Part of the reason for its low score is that the group spends tons of money on fundraising. Charity Navigator calculated that for every dollar it raises, the organization spends 38 cents to raise more money. That’s because it relies heavily on expensive fundraising methods, including mailers and telemarketer calls…..
Jennifer Bell, who runs the blog Drowning in Junk, knows all about this. She helped care for an elderly relative—now deceased, who we will not name out of respect for the family’s privacy—who once wrote a $100 check to Citizens United. Bell said the relative suffered from dementia, and after writing that first check, received frequent mailings and phone calls asking her to give more. Sometimes she would get five pieces of mail per week from the group. The woman was eventually hospitalized, so Bell had her mail redirected to her own address to help her manage the onslaught.
That’s when she started to notice how disturbing some of the mailers were. One mail piece, which had Bossie’s name on it, said the relative had sent Citizens United a $50 check which was lost in the mail.…
“I am writing this letter to ask for your forgiveness and understanding with a recent mix-up with the Post Office,” Bossie wrote. “As a result, we were unable to receive your $50 donation.”
“Citizens United was the victim of a clerical mistake that temporarily decreased our ability to receive all of our mail,” the letter continues. “I would say I am shocked but what do you expect from a government run organization!”
Then comes the kicker:
“If you can see it in your heart to re-send your $50 in the included postage-provided envelope it would be a blessing to us,” the letter concludes.
Bell said her relative never sent that $50 check in the first place. Bell’s family had taken away the relative’s checkbook before she was hospitalized, so they knew she hadn’t sent a check. Moreover, how would Bossie know she had sent one if it never actually got to him?