Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus is expanding his investigation of a charity organization accused of exploiting veterans and abusing its tax-exempt status as a non-profit organization. According to tax records, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) raised tens of millions of dollars over a three year period, but very little of that money went directly to help veterans. Baucus is now expanding the investigation to include marketing firm Quadriga Art - which may have collected millions of dollars more in fees from DVNF than the total amount the charity spent on veterans.
Baucus' investigation as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee has been featured on CNN on Anderson Cooper's "Keeping them Honest" segment.
"Our veterans deserve to be honored, not to be used as pawns by scam artists. No company should get a break on taxes for exploiting the sense of duty we feel to support wounded veterans," said Baucus. "Folks who donate money to help our wounded veterans and their families deserve to know where their money is going."
Baucus and Veteran's Committee Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-N.C.) first initiated the investigation in May following news reports that showed DVNF raised nearly $56 million in donations since it was founded in 2007, yet has paid Quadriga and its subsidiaries nearly $61 million between 2008 and 2010.
In a letter sent to the fundraising company's CEO, Mark Schulhof, Baucus is now asking Quadriga for financial records and reports related to its contract with DVNF.
According to the independent watchdog group CharityWatch, DNVF has received an "F" grade for its questionable balance of fundraising and legitimate donations.
The Finance Committee has oversight responsibility over the federal tax system. As a non-profit organization, DVNF is exempt from paying federal taxes.