Red Cross Calls Sandy Spending 'Trade Secret'
Won't say how it spent the $300M it raised
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2014 1:07 AM CDT
Updated Jun 27, 2014 7:43 AM CDT
A man enters a Red Cross shelter at Annapolis High School in Annapolis, Md. as Hurricane Sandy approaches the East Coast, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012.    (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

(Newser) – The Red Cross raised more than $300 million for Superstorm Sandy disaster relief, but it is refusing to say how it raised or spent the cash. After ProPublica filed a public records request for the information, the Red Cross hired a law firm to block the release of some documents. The lawyers argued that the information is a "trade secret" and if it was disclosed, "the American Red Cross would suffer competitive harm because its competitors would be able to mimic the American Red Cross's business model for an increased competitive advantage."

The Red Cross is a public charity with a federal charter to provide disaster relief, so it's not clear who its "competitors" are, ProPublica notes. The Red Cross says it wants "proprietary information important to maintaining our ability to raise funds and fulfill our mission" to remain confidential, but the use of the "trade secret" exemption is not "something you would expect from an organization that purports to be 'transparent and accountable,'" says a spokesman for the Disaster Accountability Project watchdog group. "Donors have a right to know" what is being done with the money, writes Laura Northrup at Consumerist, "but the Red Cross refuses to even separate out how much money budgeted for certain expenses was spent during the disaster, and how much allocated for future efforts." (As of last spring, the Red Cross was still sitting on more than a third of Sandy donations.)

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Jun 28, 2014 9:46 AM CDT
A guy on the ship I was on. Was handed a notice about his mother being in the hospital. Not expected to live on a Monday morning. The Red Cross office had been holding it since Friday morning. She died Saturday night. They will never get a dime from me. I have been on many disaster sites watching the Red Cross selling food. While the Salvation Army was giving it away. Only asking for donations. If you could afford to.If not the food was free.
Jun 27, 2014 6:07 PM CDT
I will check out the heart to heart organization. Sounds like we may have a winner charity here !
Jun 27, 2014 6:05 PM CDT
Once again, a do-gooder organization has the higher ups with fat pockets.