Minnesota Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Charity That Says it Helps Families of Fallen Officers

October 10, 2018 06:27 PM

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson announced Wednesday that she has filed a lawsuit against a charity she claims deceptively represents that donations go primarily to help families of officers killed in the line of duty.

Instead, she claimed in a release, only a small percentage of funds raised by American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens, Inc. went to such purposes.

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The organization was previously sued by the Minnesota Attorney General's Office in 1995 for the same reason. And the release said police departments around the country have issued alerts warning about the group.

The release alleges the "Police Family Survivors Fund" made up only 17 percent of the group's charitable spending in 2017, and only 9 percent of the $4 million in total donations received that year. The rest was alleged to have been spent on public education efforts, the majority of which the release claims consisted of inserting notes into fundraising solicitations reminding people to have their neighbor get their newspaper while they are away from home, water their Christmas trees, wash their hands, etc.

The lawsuit also claims the group maintained GuideStar, an organization that disseminates information about charities, had certified it used contributions the way they were intended. When in fact, the suit alleges, GuideStar does not certify or endorse a charity's use of donations and programs.

And the lawsuit goes on to claim the group "misstated the financial reports it filed with the Minnesota Attorney General's Office by misreporting the cost of fundraising as program expenses to boost (the) public's perception that it spent more on charitable programs than it really did."

The release states the group received over $425,000 from more than 10,000 donors in Minnesota between 2011 and June 2017.

The group had not yet responded to calls seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.

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Frank Rajkowski

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