Donors who have given money to four of the largest cancer charities in the United States may have unknowingly been financing the lavish lifestyle of the C.E.O. who runs them—paying for luxury cruises, elite gym memberships instead of treatment for cancer patients.
That’s according to a suit filed Tuesday by the Federal Trade Commission as well as attorneys general in all 50 states, which alleges that James Reynolds deceived and defrauded donors out of more than $187 million between four of his charities—including the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society.
The complaint says that the scheme started in the 1980’s. The charities told donors via telemarketing calls that their money would go toward medicine and transportation for cancer patients. However, most of the money actually went toward Reynolds’ personal indulges.
The complaint says that between 2008 and 2012, only three percent of donations actually went to cancer patients.
The FTC also accuses the organizations of cooking their books and reporting inflated revenues as well as “gifts in kind” that they said they distributed internationally.
The FTC said two of the charities—the Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society plan to settle the charges out of court. The Associated Press reported that the Breast Cancer Society, posted a statement on its website Tuesday blaming increased government scrutiny for the charity's downfall.
"While the organization, its officers and directors have not been found guilty of any allegations of wrongdoing, and the government has not proven otherwise, our board of directors has decided that it does not help those who we seek to serve, and those who remain in need, for us to engage in a highly publicized, expensive, and distracting legal battle around our fundraising practices," the statement said.
Several executives who were also involved in the sccheme, including Reynolds’ son, have agreed to a settlement, which bans them from working in fundraising or charities. The two charities that settled, Breast Cancer Society and the Children’ Cancer Fund of America will be dissolved.
The settlement also orders a $65,664,360 judgment, which is the amount consumers donated between 2008 and 2012. Reynolds junior’s judgment will be for suspended once he pays $75,000. Meanwhile the legal proceedings for Reynolds’ senior and the two remaining charities are ongoing.
Ben Ritz of the Progressive Policy Institute slams President Trump’s new budget:
“It would dismantle public investments that lay the foundation for economic growth, resulting in less innovation. It would shred the social safety net, resulting in more poverty. It would rip away access to affordable health care, resulting in more disease. It would cut taxes for the rich, resulting in more income inequality. It would bloat the defense budget, resulting in more wasteful spending. And all this would add up to a higher national debt than the policies in President Obama’s final budget proposal.”
Here’s Ritz’s breakdown of Trump’s proposed spending cuts to public investment in areas such as infrastructure, education and scientific research:
Since roughly the end of World War Two, individual income taxes in the U.S. have equaled about 8 percent of GDP. By contrast, the Tax Policy Center says, “corporate income tax revenues declined from 6% of GDP in 1950s to under 2% in the 1980s through the Great Recession, and have averaged 1.4% of GDP since then.”
Smaller refunds in the first few weeks of the current tax season were shaping up to be a political problem for Republicans, but new data from the IRS shows that the value of refund checks has snapped back and is now running 1.3 percent higher than last year. The average refund through February 23 last year was $3,103, while the average refund through February 22 of 2019 was $3,143 – a difference of $40. The chart below from J.P. Morgan shows how refunds performed over the last 3 years.