Retired Navy Colonel Pete Metzger, chairman of the new Veterans Charities Advisory Council, spoke with Breitbart News Saturday host Matthew Boyle on how the organization is “trying to become Consumer Reports for veteran charities.”
Metzger opened the interview by highlighting the nearly $1 billion donated to charities that his organizations consider “not recommended.”
“To put it into context, in 2021 almost $1 billion, to be more specific $966 million, was donated to charities that we wouldn’t recommend,” Metzger said. “Conversely, $330 million, or a third of that, was donated to charities we recommend. So you can see there is a real problem here.
Metzger said US donors are being “cheated” by veterans’ charities that either sit on their money or use it to pay unusually high overhead costs.
Boyle noted that Charities for Veterans listed a charity as “not recommended” because 68.72% of their budget was for overhead, leaving about 30% for veterans who needed help.
Metzger provided another example of a purported Florida-based veterans charity that raised $2.7 million from donors in 2016 but only spent $13,000 on veterans.
In 2016, a group called the Healing Heroes Network, founded by a licensed physician in the state of Florida, raised $2.7 million from donors to support medical care for veterans. 13,000 of that 2.7 million went to veterans. The rest went to overhead, including paying his wife a salary of $100,000 a year, the treasurer, which people would be angry if they knew about.
“And so what we’re trying to do is become the Consumer Reports for veterans charities and leverage the accurate information that we’ve gathered,” he added.
Metzger explained that Charities for Veterans analyzed IRS forms, state attorney general reports and other data from the top 78 veterans charities and ranked them as “highly recommended”, “recommended” or “not recommended”. .
“And a lot of them have very meaningful names, ‘wounded warriors’ or ‘veteran dogs’, and people, again, very well-meaning people, are writing these checks not knowing what’s really going on,” Metzger said.
Of the top 78 veterans charities, 48 are not recommended by veterans charities. Metzger said there are so many charities for veterans “because what these groups do is they come up with an idea, they hire professional fundraisers, clever TV commercials, radio spots, and hope to try and create that tsunami of money coming their way.”
Charities get a “highly recommended” classification if more than three-quarters of the money goes to veterans, Metzger said. Potential donors can donate money to the charities of their choice directly from the Veterans Charities website. On the other hand, if an organization spends more than 25% of its annual budget on overhead, it is “not recommended”.
Charities will also be thrown into the “not recommended” pile if they have three or more years of their annual budget in the bank or a hedge fund.
Breitbart News Saturday airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST.