Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Why Did the Admiral go Ashore?

Well, Senator Chuck Grassley and his Finance Committee are once again taking a look at the American Red DoubleCross. Grassley's 29 December 2005 letter to Red Cross chair Bonnie McElveen-Hunter requests documents and info relating to the organization's governance by its Board, its response to Katrina and other disasters, the compensation it pays its employees, and its tax filings with the IRS.

The Red Cross has indicated its intention to respond by the 30 January 2006 deadline set by Grassley.

One underlying theme of the request seems to be the circumstances giving rise to the recent departure of former Red Cross President and CEO Marsha Evans. Grassley makes no attempts to hide his desire to learn the REAL reasons for Adm. Evans's departure [as a former flag officer with an honorable service record, she is properly addressed by her last military title]. Did she leave because the Red Cross was resisting her expressed and explicit desire to reform the organization? If so, then who was resisting what? And, notwithstanding (or, perhaps, on account of) Adm. Evans's impressive record of accomplishments, Grassley is also asking for info regarding her own emolument and severance package with the Red Cross.

Grandstanding by Grassley? Perhaps. But understand that when I was in grade school, my penmanship was not very calligraphic (and it has been significantly deteriorating ever since). During those years, when criticized by my teachers, I had several occasions to point out to them that then-President Lyndon B. Johnson's handwriting did not exactly comply with all of the Zaner-Bloser handwriting specifications to which we students were expected to adhere.

The Red Cross was placed into a position of prominence and leadership when it was chartered by Congress, and, like it or not, is now a role model for all tax-exempt organizations. There were serious questions regarding its handling of funds which were supposed to go to the World Trade Center victims. Its shortcomings will, consciously or otherwise, be used by the governing and administrative personnel of other tax-exempt organizations as excuses for their own lapses. While I am very wary of any branch of the government wielding too much power (including Grassley, who often acts as though he is a separate branch of the government), I view this latest request by Grassley as a healthy and appropriate one.

Because I also want to know the real story behind Adm. Evans's departure.


  • At 02 January, 2006 16:22, Blogger J. A. Gillmartin said…

    I saw the senator's request as well and was likewise pleased.

    Based on our experience with the San Diego franchise out here on the left coast, it appears the organization is infested with white collar avarice.

    The excuse we were given for the enormous salaries was loosly translated, "We have a right to it, we're executives after all!"

    Nice blog.


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