Lying police union makes a lying pitch for money in Las Vegas

Lying police unionI’ve had it up to here with the International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO. Using the trade name National Police and Troopers Association, its telemarketers raise money by calling folks, falsely implying it is a charity and flat-out lying that the money is to fund death benefits for families of fallen officers.

In fact, only 1/10 of 1% of the funds given over the past four years, and nothing in some years, has gone for death benefits. Far more–maybe 80 times more–has gone to defray costs of negotiating higher pay and benefits for IUPA’s law-enforcement members.

That money is spent this way is not especially surprising, since the IUPA/NPTA, is simply a police union, albeit one masquerading as a charity. Still, it isn’t a charity, which is why contributions to IUPA/NPTA are not tax-deductible. Of course, callers are not advised of that fact, nor that NPTA is raising money for collective bargaining, before they are asked to make a legally enforceable pledge of money.

But even the 8% or so of donations going to some kind of police-related purpose is dwarfed by the 90-plus percent going to the paid fundraiser, an outfit with the wonderfully deceptive name (at least when working for this union) of Charity Appeal, based in Carson City, Nev.

Why am I so steamed up about this? At the New To Las Vegas world headquarters I recently got yet another call from these flim-flam artists. They and others retained by IUPA/NPTA have been calling me for years even though I’ve written up the deplorable m.o. here and on an earlier blog, NewToSeattle.com. That I keep getting called asking for money despite my public criticisms is why the organization is a candidate for my list, posted in the left column, of America’s Stupidest Charities.

But this time I was told directly by an actual human being–to whom I was referred when the computer-operated artificial intelligence voice using the name Jackson Kimbrell couldn’t answer one of my questions–that 10% of the money raised–100 times the true cut–goes to the families of fallen officers.

“Ten percent goes for death benefits?” I repeated incredulously but to the point. “Correct,” she replied in a pleasant Southern accent.

Even Burger King double whoppers aren’t this big. Don’t think so, I replied. She hung up.

It was barely two months ago that I last wrote about NPTA/IUPA, after a call by the aforementioned Jackson Kimbrell. Here is the dissection I posted at the time:

I invite you to download a copy of the organization’s latest IRS form 990 filing, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015, by clicking here. Then follow along as I explain my merry analysis.

For the year, the IUPA/NPTA received $9.7 million in gifts. But $8.9 million was spent on fundraising expenses, almost all of it to five professional telemarketers. So the NPTA/IUPA’s fundraising efficiency–the percent of donations remaining after the cost of fundraising–was only 8%. In evaluating true charities (which the NPTA/IUPA most certainly is not), the charity watchdog Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance says fundraising efficiency should be no lower than 65%. (By the way the NPTA/IUPA refused to provide information to the BBB, another screaming red flag.)

Put another way, 92 cents of every dollar donated got nowhere near the nonprofit. (Charity Appeal was not one of the five paid telemarketers that year; Nevada corporation records say the firm was formed earlier this year. But two of the five were based in Nevada–Outreach Calling in Reno and Courtesy Call, right here in Las Vegas.)

Of the remaining $800,000, the amount of money listed on the tax return being spent on a death benefit for fallen officers, the emotionally evocative main purpose touted by the fundraiser who called me, was–zero. It was also zero in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. In the year ending March 31, 2013, two death benefits totaling $7,000 were paid. So out of $29 million raised over those three years with public records, exactly $7,000 was paid out in those highly touted death benefits. That works out to 1/50th of 1%.

Back to 2015. Some $12,500 was paid to individuals in the form of five $2,500 scholarships “for students pursuing an advanced degree in law enforcement.” Another $35,000 went out in grants to other organizations, including $10,000 to a handicapped children foundation in Florida–not exactly a police-and-trooper-like nonprofit–and about $10,000 to help fundraising efforts of other law enforcement organizations.

So of the $9.7 million received in donations, only $47,000 was spent in ways that some might find charitable, even if not entirely police-related. That’s not even one-half of 1% of the money raised. One does not have to be a charity expert to know this is pretty bad.

What about the remaining $760,000 or so? That money was spent for the NPTA/IUPA’s only stated purpose, which the tax return plainly said was “to bargain for just compensation and better benefits for approximately 12,000 members.” Based on other data on the return, I’d say that $760,000 reduced the dues members paid by a third.

I called the NPTA/IUPA headquarters in Sarasota, Fla., to ask why death benefits are being touted when so little money goes out that way, and why the NPTA depicts itself as a charity. A person there acknowledged no death benefits were paid in 2014 and 2015, but said $30,000 was paid out earlier this year. (Assuming the same level of fundraising, that would bring up the total death benefits/contributions ratio over four years from 1/50th of 1% to 1/10th of 1%.)

It’s sad to say, but in my view organized crime has a more transparent business model than this police organization.

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