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VA Employee Runs ‘Worst’ Veterans Charity In The United States
A well-funded charity organization called the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation is under fire after it was revealed that only 2% of its cash donations have actually been donated to veterans and their families. That information was recently brought to light by a team of CNN investigative reporters, who dug into tax records made available by a watchdog organization that tracks the financial performance of thousands of charities across the United States, and which named NVVF one of the “worst” veterans charities in existence — despite the fact that it’s run by a combat veteran who is currently employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
According to Fast Company, the watchdog group, called Charity Navigator, “ranks nonprofits on the efficacy of their getting and spending, measuring them against seven benchmarks and assigning each one a rating on a scale of zero to four stars.” For example, Concerns of Police Survivors, a charity organization that provides resources to surviving family members of law enforcement officials killed in the line of duty, has an overall score of 91.73 and four out of four stars. That’s good. That’s trustworthy.
Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the spectrum, NVVF, which, according to its website, was “created by veterans on behalf of veterans” and is “dedicated to aiding, supporting, and benefiting America’s veterans and their families,” maintains a score of 24.60 and zero — zero — out of four stars. That’s bad. Very bad. By Charity Navigator’s standards, that’s an organization Americans shouldn’t feel comfortable donating their hard-earned money to.
And it gets worse. According to the NVVF website, the board of directors is “made up entirely of veterans who have served in a combat zone.” J. Thomas Burch, the founder and CEO of NVVF, is not only a veteran himself, he’s a federally paid lawyer at the VA. In fact, he’s deputy director in the VA’s Office of General Counsel, where, according to CNN, he pulled in $127,000 in salary in 2014. That’s well over twice what the average household income was for Americans that year. But for Burch, who lives in the Washington D.C. suburbs and drives a black Rolls-Royce, that apparently wasn’t enough.
Between 2010 and 2014, NVVF raked in more than $29 million in donations, CNN reports. In 2014 alone, the organization raised $8.5 million, a mere $122,000 — or 2% — of which actually went that to veterans and their families. Where did the rest go? According to the charity’s 2014 tax return, which was obtained and reviewed by CNN, $65,000 of it went into Burch’s pocket, while more than two hundred thousand dollars more were spent on travel, unnamed “awards,” “parking,” “phones,” and, of course, “other expenses.” The rest went to “professional fundraisers.”
“It’s a zero-star organization and you can’t go lower than that,” Michael Thatcher, Charity Navigator’s CEO, told CNN. “They don’t have an independent board of directors, they actually don’t even have a comprehensive board of directors — only three members on the board at this point in time and some of the are family. So one can say, is this representative of an independent board? It’s not.”
So far, Burch has proved unwilling to provide an explanation, at least to CNN. When reporters attempted to contact Burch at the VA, he asked them not to contact him while he was working. So the reporters confronted him as he was returning home from work, at which point Burch sped off. The vanity license plates on his Rolls-Royce read: MY ROLLS. But it might not be his Rolls for much longer: According to CNN’s senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, Burch’s position in the VA is now being reviewed by the Office of Inspector General.
“We have an open invitation to Mr. Burch,” Griffin told CNN's Jake Tapper. “If he wants to defend his zero-star rated charity, we are happy to sit down and listen.”
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.