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NPR Red Cross Investigation Prompts Call For A Congressional Hearing

A Minnesota congressman is calling for a hearing into how the Red Cross spent millions of dollars donated for disaster relief in Haiti, following the devastating 2010 earthquake there.

The subject of a joint NPR/ProPublica investigation, the Red Cross raised nearly $500 million and promised to provide housing for more than 130,000 people, yet built just six homes.

Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., said while the Red Cross is not a federal agency, it is a "Federal Instrumentality" chartered by Congress to maintain a domestic and international system of disaster relief.

Nolan has written to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland, seeking the hearing:

"Like millions of Americans, my wife Mary and I have always been big supporters of the Red Cross. In fact, Mary worked for them organizing blood drives. Throughout its long history, the Red Cross has provided help and comfort to millions of people here in America and throughout the world, and those who give to these efforts have always done so with confidence that their money would be used wisely and managed carefully to assist those in desperate need," the letter went on to say. "However, the allegations of waste and mismanagement in Haiti are extremely disturbing, and I believe the Red Cross should be accorded the opportunity to tell their side of the story to Congress and the public."

As NPR's Laura Sullivan reported:

"When a devastating earthquake leveled Haiti in 2010, millions of people donated to the American Red Cross. The charity raised almost half a billion dollars. It was one of its most successful fundraising efforts ever.

"The American Red Cross vowed to help Haitians rebuild, but after five years the Red Cross' legacy in Haiti is not new roads, or schools, or hundreds of new homes. It's difficult to know where all the money went."

Here is a link tothe original NPR story.

The ProPublica version is here.

The Red Cross responded after the story was published.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.
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