Show Me the Money, Haiti
It is easy to ask for money. It is much more difficult to see that it is honestly spent.
So now we’re back to ground zero, literally. A few weeks after the attack on 9/11, actor George Clooney and a bunch of celebrities fronted a television telethon to raise money for the families of the victims. It was a well-intentioned project that raised about $150 million.
Unfortunately, the distribution of the money was somewhat chaotic, and I led the charge to have the celebrities pressure the charities to be more transparent about where the funds were going. Mr. Clooney took umbrage at my request, and a big controversy ensued.
Now we have the charitable debacle in Haiti. A year after the devastating earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people, more than a million Haitians are still living in the streets. This, despite the fact that the United States alone has sent almost two billion dollars to that nation. Another ten billion has been pledged by other countries, but it is impossible to track that money.
The brutal truth is that no one knows where much of the aid designated to help the Haitians is. There is absolutely no transparency and little accountability. Dozens of brand new donated trucks sit idle at the Port-au-Prince airport, because the Haitian government wants thousands of dollars in “import duties” before it allows the trucks to transport vital goods to the suffering people. That’s just one example of the madness going on.