On October 1, a new Nevada law took effect requiring, among other things, that political action committees soliciting contributions in the state for the “benefit of law enforcement, firefighting or other public safety personnel” first register and file a financial statement or face penalties. Since then, judging from calls to the New To Las Vegas world headquarters, the number of “faux charities” thumbing their noses at the state’s main missing-in-action regulators, the Secretary of State’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office, has exploded. A faux charity–my term–sounds like a charity but isn’t and spends most of the money raised in fundraising expense rather than on the stated mission.
The latest example was a call I received earlier this week from “Emma” seeking a contribution for what she called Americans for Female Officers, based in Washington, D.C. I use quote marks because “Emma” wasn’t a real person but a computer-generated voice using what is known as soundboard technology. Our conservation ended shortly after I asked if the cause–whose website, started less than six months ago, has a nifty logo of a female officer wrapped in a red-white-and-blue-flag–had registered with Nevada.
I’ll keep this one short. Americans for Female Officers is a name used by a political action committee, United Women’s Health Alliance PAC. Neither Americans for Female Officers nor UWHC PAC is listed as registered on online sites maintained by the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office. As I wrote here recently, according to its filings with the Federal Election Commission, from its founding in August 2020 to June 30, 2021, UWHA PAC, which also solicits in Nevada using the name Ovarian Cancer Awareness Initiative PAC (also unregistered), received a total of about $825,000 in contributions, but spent $650,000 in fundraising expense. That’s a fundraising efficiency–the percent of donations remaining after subtracting the cost of generating them–of just 21%. Put another way, of every dollar given to UWHA PAC, 79 cents went straight out of door for fundraising. UWHA PAC also made absolutely no political contributions.
How many would-be donors would find this satisfactory?
I sent an email through the Americans for Female Officers/United Women’s Health Alliance PAC website seeking comment on these issues. I’ll update this post if I hear anything back. However, based on my long experience the chances of that happening is roughly the same as Sean Hannity endorsing Joe Biden.
In a state with an economy based on gambling, I’d say UWHA PAC is betting on the sad track record of Nevada’s two charitable regulators. Historically, this has been a good bet for sketchy fundraisers. Like “Emma.”