Charitable Donations???

Well, I did some poking around.  MADD is getting $175 per DWI in Dallas.  There were approximately 10,000 DWI convictions in Dallas last year.  That works out to $1,750,000.  Now, keep in mind that Dallas is in the midst of a crime wave.  If that money were funneled into the City’s coffers, that would be enough to hire 45 more full time officers at the current starting pay.  That’s without raising taxes, selling bonds, or dipping into any other programs. 

MADD has become a serious gravy train for a lot of people, paying their top ranking people $200,000 and up in salary.  The received more than $3,000,000 from “forcing” (their word) people into their “VIP Panels” as part of their sentencing in 2004.  I’m sure that those figures were more in 2005 and 2006.  The numbers for 2007 are obviously not available yet. 

Think about what the City could do if all the money that’s going into other pockets were put back into the City.  I’m also quite interested in knowing if these “charities” are contributing to the judges election campaigns.  So much for a fair and impartial judicial system.

Sentencing in Texas

I fail to see why judges in this state are allowed, as part of someone’s sentence, to force them to make donations to specific charities.  Nevada has ruled that this is unacceptable.  Maryland has as well.  Texas allows it but says that the judge cannot specify the individual charity.  This, however, has not been my experience. 

How does this work?  Well, if you’re convicted or plead to a DWI charge, you are told that in addition to your hefty fine, legal bills, jail time, and/or probation, you must also make $175 donation to MADD.  If you’re convicted of any kind of an animal cruelty charge, you must make a similar donation to the SPCA.  Other offenses come with similar stipulations to other charities. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  What’s the harm in that?  Well, a lot of these organizations are complete hypocrites.  The SPCA is responsible for killing thousands of animals every year – thousands more than Michael Vik ever thought about.  What if that money were flowing into city coffers to fund things like rounding up strays or even turning the city pound into a no-kill shelter?   Furthermore, Charity Navigator, a web site that rates charaties rates many of the individual SPCA branches with a very low (1 or 2 stars out of 5) rating, meaning that most of the money is going into someone’s paycheck.  And this is what people are being sentenced to donate to?

There is mounting evidence that many MADD members are complete hypocrites – since they’ve been citied for DWI themselves.  I suppose if you believe in the “it takes a thief to catch one” philosophy that this works for you.  I find it unsettling that people who actively campaign and even lobby our governmental agencies would be engaging in such behavior.  Much less that they are now demanding donations from people convicted.  Just google on “MADD + hypocrite” and see how many hits you get.  And MADD’s charity rating – 2 stars. 

I don’t see why these dollars should be flowing into a private
charity.  They don’t get accounted for in the same way that your tax
dollars do.  Even though they’re mandated by the city and county in most cases, there’s no guarantee that these dollars are doing anything to help the city or county community.  Many of the dollars get sent back to the corporate headquarters of the charity.  Worse yet, the crappy charity ratings mean that most of the money goes into people’s paychecks.  Let me translate this for you  – the administrators of the charity are paying themselves nice fat salaries – six figures ($100,000 per year) and up in many cases.  Only now, they’re doing it with court-ordered donations.   I think that this amounts to taxation without representation. 

I think it’s definite judicial misbehavior.  If it isn’t creating collusion between the charities and the judges, it certainly gives the appearance of doing so.  I can assure you, humans being humans and all, that it’s only a matter of time until it because cause for corruption.  Either the charity will hire the judge as a consultant or there will just be out and out bribery to raise the fees that must be paid to the charity.  Either way, this needs to be stopped immediately.

UPDATE:

I’ve been poking around on line and found this.  A judge’s decision has been questioned because of her own charitable donations.  In this case, she was making donations to the ACLU and sided with them when they brought a case into her court.  All merits of the case aside, this incurs extra taxpayer expense because now the case will have to be re-tried on appeal by a “clean” judge.