FEMA Secretly Funneling Katrina Donations to Pat Robertson's
Diamond Mine Cargo Planes Charity
FEMA Hiding Rev. Pat 'Charity'
Hours after Sploid reported that FEMA was directing Hurricane Katrina donations to a shady charity run by extremist televangelist Pat Robertson, the federal emergency agency has begun quietly replacing its Web pages that prominently displayed links to Robertson’s front company.
FEMA disaster Web pages and press releases updated on Aug. 29 encouraged donations to three charities by prominently linking to those organizations at the top of the Donations section of the Katrina disaster site.
The first was obvious: The American Red Cross, a disaster relief agency that defined the role of disaster relief agencies around the world.
The second was less familiar: Operation Blessing — as was another religious-sounding group, America’s Second Harvest, which turns out to be a food bank network funded by various corporate farming and restaurant businesses.
After that first screen of three “top charities,” there was a plain alphabetized list of American charities, many of them religious in nature, all but a few familiar to most Americans.
So what is Operation Blessing, and who runs it?
The shady charity is run by the Rev. Pat Robertson, his wife, his son and a few other board members...not that you’ll find Robertson’s name on the official site.
The chairman, “MG Robertson,” is none other than the Rev. Pat — Marion Gordon Robertson is his real name — while Pat’s wife DeDe is vice president and son Gordon Robertson is also on the board.
Operation Blessing isn’t odious just because of its leadership. Robertson’s phony charity was caught in 1999 supporting Robertson’s diamond mine business in Zaire:
A decade ago, the evangelist befriended another notorious African dictator, President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (now Congo). A onetime darling of the West during the Cold War, Mobutu had become an international pariah by the 1990s, reviled for looting his country’s treasury and committing human rights abuses. That didn’t stop Robertson from speaking out on his behalf and calling for an end to U.S. sanctions against his regime. In 1994 The 700 Club carried frequent reports on the humanitarian work being done in Zaire by Operation Blessing, Robertson’s international relief organization. Typically, the reports were accompanied by appeals for donations.
What Robertson didn’t tell viewers was that he also owned a for-profit company, African Development Co., which, with Mobutu’s blessing, was doing exploratory mining for diamonds in Zaire.
Also unreported — until two pilots came forward with the story in 1997 — was the fact that Operation Blessing’s tax-exempt cargo planes were used almost exclusively for Robertson’s diamond-mining operation, not for humanitarian purposes. A subsequent investigation by Virginia authorities turned up evidence for charging Operation Blessing with violations of the state’s charitable solicitation law. But the office of Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, who had received a $35,000 campaign contribution from Robertson, declined to prosecute. Robertson reimbursed Operation Blessing for the use of the planes, and the charity agreed to tighten its financial controls.
The front operation for the radical, pro-assassination televangelist and Republican power broker is also based in the Rev. Pat’s headquarters, Virginia Beach.
Robertson’s shell organizations have already collected more than $25 million from the federal government under various “faith based” federal-handout programs. And with millions of distraught citizens looking to FEMA for help in finding reputable organizations to help Katrina survivors, Robertson stands to profit magnificently from the horror that has fallen on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.