Tens of thousands of Americans have contributed to the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund after reading letters like Stephanie Lawlor's. But while those donations total millions every year, the fund spends only pennies on the dollar directly assisting officers facing criminal charges, state and federal filings show.
Over the past five years, the charity collected more than $13 million, primarily through direct-mail pitches. But most of that money — more than $9 million — went right back to the professional fundraisers hired by the nonprofit legal defense fund.
A lot more of the money goes to conservative causes:
The charity's biggest beneficiary last year, for example, was not a police officer, but the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a national campus-based think tank that promotes "limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, the rule of law, market economy, and moral norms.
They also spread generously spread the donations to other right-of-center groups:
The charity has also given tens of thousands of dollars to the Federalist Society, described by The American Conservative magazine as a "training ground for young conservative lawyers"; to the Law and Economics Center at George Mason University in Virginia, a leading center of conservative and libertarian legal studies; and to a project at McDaniel College — Martin's alma mater.
It pays to check out Charity Nativgator before you make those holiday donations.