Picture the Dumbell Nebula!
The Pink Flamingo does not like defending Sean Hannity. Unfortunately, this time, I think he could be getting a bad deal. It appears as though he could be the victim of the Green Eyed Monster. The witch hunt based on what appears to be either stupidity, naivety, or a malicious vendetta is now attracting the usual liberal bottom feeders.
What do Oliver North, Sean Hannity and Sean Hannity have in common?
Melanie Sloan, the Executive Director of CREW, is after Sean Hannity. She is also extremely liberal and is a member of Valerie Plame’s legal team. She is out to get Hannity and Oliver North, and go after North Freedom Alliance and revoke their non-profit status because Newt Gingrich has appeared at Hannity’s Freedom Concerts.
“….Ms. Sloan serves as legal counsel for former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson and his wife, retired CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson, whose then-classified covert identity was disclosed, leading to the CIA leak grand jury investigation and the trial of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby in United States v. Libby (see Plame affair). Ms. Sloan is one of the attorneys representing the Wilsons in their civil lawsuit against former and current officials of the George W. Bush administration (Plame v. Cheney)….”
The Pink Flamingo seems to remember that Sean Hannity is raising money for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. One of the complaints the liberals are making is that not enough money is being disbursed. Hannity is being denigrated because of the money spent on his concerts. Freedom Alliance has a very high rating with Charity Navigator.
Debbie Schlussel has been after Hannity for several weeks, trying to take him out over his concert series. When I read her original post on the subject I wondered if we lived on different planets. She was ranting and raving over expenses, expecting that nothing would be spent staging these concerts. Then, recently she finally admitted the following:
“…The answer, according to an insider, is apparently Premiere Speakers Bureau, owned by Duane Ward, Oliver North’s longtime PR man, and the speaking engagement agent for both North and Hannity, as well as many FOX News and other conservative personalities. Premiere runs the Freedom Concerts and owns the FreedomConcerts.com domain name, sells the Freedom Concerts merchandise, etc. While only a $4 surcharge on Freedom Concert tickets goes to Freedom Alliance, the rest is controlled by Ward and his various companies. I contacted Duane Ward via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and telephone. He did not respond to questions, which included a request for Freedom Concerts’ financial records and an accounting of Freedom Concert revenues and Premiere travel arrangements for Hannity to fly in high-style to the events. And the inside source–who asked to remain anonymous because of legitimate fears of retaliation by Ward and Hannity–says it’s a huge profit center for Ward and Premiere….”
Right. These things DO NOT STAGE THEMSELVES FOR FREE. Perhaps Ms. Schlussel needs to spend a little time in the real world. Concert promoters are in it for MONEY. They do not do their work for free. They have a job. They pay people. It is part of the free economy Schlussel allegedly supports.
This is how every other chairty concert works.
Use your head, please. Debbie Schlussel is in the process of destroying a very good thing because she is an idiot. There is no other way of putting it. So, she is slinging dirt at concert promoter – the person who gets things gone – at Duane Ward. Schlussel has dug herself into a very deep hole.
“…Duane Ward was, for many years, Oliver North’s paid PR person. During the Iran-Contra hearings, Rev. Jerry Falwell told North that he did not have good public relations to counter negative media coverage. He suggested that North hire Falwell’s assistant, Ward. Ward worked for North for several years as his personal assistant and press flack. But after the dust settled, North needed a new line of work and income source. So, Ward began setting up speaking engagements for North, and became his first client in what is now Ward’s Tennessee-based Premiere Speakers Bureau. North began to bring in his FOX News colleagues, including Sean Hannity and (recently) Mike Huckabee, as clients. (Other Premiere clients include Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Dick Morris, Neil Cavuto, Curtis Sliwa, and many others, many of whom are FOX News contributors or employees.)
Ward has several companies under the Premiere banner, including Premiere Transportation, which provided campaign buses for nearly every major Presidential campaign in 2008, including those of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Mitt Romney. And it provides the buses–shocker!–for the Freedom Concerts, when, for example, it’s a short ride from Hannity’s New York location to the Freedom Concert that took place in New Jersey….”
I know it hurts.
The requirements for the scholarship are thus:
“...Students are eligible if they are the dependent child of an active duty service member who was killed or permanently disabled (100% VA rating) as the result of an operational mission or training accident, or who is currently certified as POW or MIA. The applicant must also be a senior in high school, a high school graduate or enrolled in an institution of higher learning, including colleges, universities, or vocational schools….”
Look at the numbers:
“55 individual student scholarships for the 2002 academic year.
73 individual student scholarships for the 2003 academic year.
80 individual student scholarships for the 2004 academic year.
95 individual student scholarships for the 2005 academic year.
105 individual student scholarships for the 2006 academic year.
113 individual student scholarships for the 2007 academic year.
167 individual student scholarships for the 2008 academic year.
201 individual student scholarships for the 2009 academic year.”
Now, please, follow the bouncing ball.
Many of the heroic men and women who have given their all for our country have YOUNG families. Get it? The large number of people eligible for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund are NOT even old enough yet. Do you expect the organization to give out scholarships for kindergarten?
Lord have mercy!
The stupidity of it all.
“…The Freedom Concert website says that more than $10 million has been raised for the scholarship fund. According to Sloan, Hannity has said that since 2003 the group has raised $2.5 million for scholarships, but after reviewing the spending records, the amount spent on scholarships cannot be more than $2.1 million.
“This is the kind of deceptive marketing that the FTC looks very dimly at,” Sloan said.
Since Freedom Alliance does not actually run the concerts, it’s possible it funds the scholarships by different means, she said.
Premier Marketing, a company run by Duane Ward, markets and manages the concerts. Ward also runs the Premier Speakers Bureau, which represents Hannity and retired Lt. Col. Oliver North, founder of the Freedom Alliance and now an honorary chairman. …”
“...In addition to its complaint with the FTC, CREW is charging that the Freedom Alliance is participating in political activities, forbidden by the IRS.
The alliance has a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status, but it’s contingent on the group refraining from politics. In 1999, Sloan said, the group was warned to steer clear of politics, but it continues to post politically charged columns on its website and host an annual Freedom Cruise, featuring prominent Republican speakers such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.
“Very few charities are actually investigated by the IRS,” she added, unless someone complains….”
MORE ON SCHLUSSEL’S STUPIDITY:
The following comes from a comment on Schulussel’s site.
“…You write of the $4 surcharge on FC tickets as the only fund that goes to Freedom Alliance, and you are correct that in the case of the July 26, 2007 Chula Vista (San Diego) concert, $4 was set aside for FA. But I believe this was a “guaranteed” amount, and that the actual amount was much more.
In their Summer, 2009 newsletter, Freedom Alliance states that, “Since the first Freedom Concert in 2003, these events have helped raise more than $9 million to support the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.”
Since that newsletter was published BEFORE the 2009 concerts, that means that over the six prior years (2003 – 2008) the concerts raised an average of $1.5M/year. There were five concerts in 2007, so let’s say the average payout to FA is $300,000/concert.
The Coors Amphitheatre (now called “Cricket Amphitheatre) seats 20,000. At $4 surcharge per ticket, that’s $80,000.
How do we explain the other $220,000?
Pretty simple. Let’s look at that ticket breakdown from the daily Kos:
WHERE: COORS AMPHITHEATRE IN CHULA VISTA, CA.
2050 Entertainment Circle, Chula Vista, CA 91911
WHEN:Thursday – July 26, 2007 7:30 PM (Doors open at 5:30 PM)
TICKETS: Prices: $38.00 – $78.00 PURCHASE TICKETS »
The following fees are included in the above ticket prices: $4.75 facility fee, $4.25 parking fee, and a $4.00 donation to the Freedom Alliance
There’s the $4.00 donation
Parking is $4.25
The $4.75 “facility fee” not the cost to rent the facility, but most likely a city imposed tax, somewhat similar to a hotel tax. I have not been able to confirm this on the Chula Vista govt. website, but I did find a mention in a newsletter of a “public facilities fee” that was imposed to pay for new police station.
So, on an “average” $50 ticket, we’re looking at $37 going to the “gate” ($50-$4.75-$4.25-$4). For 20K seats, that’s $740K gross.
Now, let’s subtract rental of the amphitheatre, liability insurance, venue security, [union] stagehands, venue staff, transportation, lighting, sound, etc. And if the headliners themselves donate their performance, what about the band and backup singers? Don’t forget to pay the concert organizer (may or may not be a Premier employee) and their staff. Finally, throw in a private jet, an Escalade Limo and a luxe hotel for Hannity.
All that could eat up $400K – $500K, leaving $240K – $340K profit.
Finally, the Coors Amphitheatre was one of the larger venues on the five concert tour. Some of the arenas seat about 10,000, so with similar ticket prices, the gate would be about half of the example above, and using that $4 figure in your article, would only generate $40,000 for Freedom Alliance.
Assume a mix of 2 amphitheaters and 3 arenas. That would mean that FA would get only $280,000 for the whole five show season.
Yet FA reports an annual average from the concerts of $1.5M.
Why the difference?
Obviously, they are receiving much more than that $4/ticket surcharge….”
Schlussel’s idiotic reply tells us all we need to know. She has a hate on for Sean Hannity and Oliver North.
“...You assume Freedom Alliance is telling the truth. And I don’t assume that, since they’ve already lied repeatedly. Also, there were 8 concerts last year, not 5, as you assume. In fact, Freedom Alliance does not report how much it gets from the concerts each year on its taxes, the only document I consider looking at from that propaganda machine. We’ll never know the answers to any of this until Vannity and his cronies, Duane Ward and Oliver North, release all of the financial records of the Freedom Concerts (which they’ll never do) and Freedom Alliance discloses its financial records, which it also won’t do. They are hiding and covering up, period. It’s big bucks for Ward or he wouldn’t be involved. Plus, you didn’t even mention all the sales from booths and Freedom Concert merchandise….”