Okla. Attorney General calls out HSUS on tornado donations

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Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a consumer warning against the Humane Society of the United States last week, warning Oklahomans of the group’s solicitations and advertisements.

Scott PruittScott PruittScott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt has said he is looking into concerns over fundraising advertisements made in the wake of the May 2013 tornado outbreak.

“Oklahomans are caring people and gave generously to assist our friends and neighbors devastated by the deadly May 2013 tornadoes,” Attorney General Pruitt said in a statement available here. “In the wake of the storm, there are concerns some national animal welfare organizations may have misled Oklahomans by giving the impression their donations would help displaced animals and animal shelters in Oklahoma. Our review has found the Oklahoma shelters have not received assistance from national groups.”

Instead, Pruitt believes donations made by locals to the group instead went into lobbying activities. Animal shelters across central Oklahoma indicated they did not receive assistance from national animal welfare organizations, including the HSUS.

He adds, “We all want the best for displaced animals and appreciate the work animal welfare organizations do to provide care for dogs, cats and other animals. But it’s important to ensure Oklahomans are not being deceived, and that the donations they made to help Oklahoma-based animal shelters are doing just that.”

The Attorney General’s Office is reviewing information from national animal welfare organizations to help resolve and clarify these concerns.

Pruitt’s alert was issued just hours before the Center for Consumer Freedom launched a week-long advertising campaign in the state, according to the Tulsa (Okla.) World. While coincidental timing, Pruitt has said he had no advanced knowledge of the campaign.  

Read more here.

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florida  |  March, 18, 2014 at 12:12 PM

It is great to finally see someone make the HSUS accountable for all their false and misleading advertising, and usage of the funds fraudulently solicited and spent on wages and lobbying.

Los Angeles  |  March, 18, 2014 at 03:35 PM

Same thing happened after Katrina. The LA Atty General managed to get enough money from them to build a small shelter. A pittance compared to the funds they raked in.

NJ  |  March, 18, 2014 at 08:44 PM

Charities are granted exemptions from paying taxes so they can provide services the government and private sector cannot. Lobbying and political activism are charity no-nos, yet those are HSUS's primary activities. Their so-called lobbying arm, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, does very little of anything. HSUS violates the IRS regulations at the federal, state, and local levels, in Oklahoma and nearly every other state. Wayne Pacelle is happy to lie to citizens of Oklahoma in order to get their money. If Pacelle were running a corporation or a state, he would have been fired and/or jailed. Regulation and enforcement of charity fraud are extremely lax. As long as charities do not engage in self-dealing, excess lobbying, or filing false tax returns, they pretty much get a free ride. HSUS has a long history of self-dealing, has been filing false returns for decades (and just had to amend their 2012 returns after being busted for fraudulent reporting) - and lobbies far in excess of even what 501(c)4 organizations are allowed to. Wayne Pacelle thinks that he is above the law. He isn't.

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