Last week, amid the outcry over the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Andrew called me again at the New To Las Vegas world headquarters asking for a donation to his cause helping the families of officers “killed in the line of duty.” The conservation lasted less than a minute, but not because this is a hard time for police fundraising. When I politely asked how much has been spent in Nevada, Andrew abruptly hung up. This might be because the true answer is probably zero.
This was not the first time this year I’ve heard from Andrew. He called months before the Floyd killing making the same plea, using roughly the same language. Nor was this the first time this year he hung up on me after I asked something simple (the last time, to be connected with his supervisor).
Clearly, Andrew has deficient interpersonal skills. I can say this without fear of committing defamation because Andrew is not a person, but rather a computer monitored by a real human trying to use artificial intelligence to fund-raise. Artificial intelligence is definitely not the same as emotional intelligence.
Andrew raises money in the name of Police Officers Support Association. This is a trade name used by Law Enforcement for a Safer America PAC. Yes, PAC, as in political action committee, outfits that usually support candidates. Based on recent filings, the money raised doesn’t actually go to next of kin, as Andrew implied in our brief chat. In fact, almost all of it goes for fundraising, and very little of it to anything that might be construed as the stated mission, like supporting sympathetic candidates or aiding grieving police families.
Each time that I have been called asking for money by LEFASA, which now lists a Washington, D.C. address, I have written up the conversation in this space after looking up filings and calculating the the terrible financial efficiencies. You can see two of those posts here and here.
Yet LEFASA and the dodgy police union that controls it, the Sarasota, Fla.-based International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO, keep calling me (which you can see here and here). The International Union, which often uses the trade name National Police and Troopers Association, raises money mainly to support collective bargaining, which most definitely isn’t charitable. All masquerade as charities when they are anything but. I call them faux charities.
This is why I had nominated all of them–Police Officers Support Association, LEFASA, the International Union of Police Associations and the National Police and Troopers Association–for my list of America’s Stupidest Charities. The criteria is insanely simple: causes that call me asking for money after I trashed them in a previous post. Can it get any dumber than that? You can see the list nearby.
So here are the latest numbers from LEFASA, for the first quarter of this year ending March 31, as filed with the toothless Federal Election Commission. They’re not pretty.
LEFASA received donations of $1.5 million. But it spent $1.35 million of that in fundraising and related costs. That’s 90% of what was coughed up by good-faith donors who thought they were helping law enforcement. Instead, the donors were helping fundraisers.
By my reckoning, LEFASA spent maybe $74,000 in political matters, including a $30,000 contribution to President Donald J. Trump’s re-election campaign (Trump’s face currently appears in a window that pops up on LEFASA’s Web homepage), and nothing I can see in respect of fallen officers. That was only 5% of the total money spent. Besides fundraising, the rest went for overhead, including about $80,000 in expense “reimbursements” to the International Union of Police Associations. These are financial efficiency ratios that LEFASA fundraisers like Andrew (and “Eddie,” who called me earlier) won’t volunteer, because would-be donors don’t like to be played for fools.
Still, I’d say Trump supporters who give to LEFASA are especially being hosed.
I sent a request for comment to an email address on the LEFASA website and will update this if I hear back.
Given the pressure that police are under thanks to the Floyd death, one would think that Andrew would work on his people skills. So far, there’s no evidence of that.