On Wednesday, Townhall reported that Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour — yeah, that Linda Sarsour — came under fire for a political fundraising effort cleverly disguised as a relief fund for victims of Hurricane Harvey. On Wednesday, she sent out a tweet blaming the “alt-right” for the backlash that ensued.
On Monday, she tweeted this: “Donate to the #Harvey Hurricane Relief Fund.”
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) August 29, 2017
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But, Townhall said, it really wasn’t a relief fund at all.
This is the organization:
— Texas Organizing Project (@OrganizeTexas) August 29, 2017
The money raised by the organization will go to “shining a spotlight on inequalities” that may arise during the rebuilding effort. It does not appear that money will actually go towards the people who lost their homes in the storm.
Inequalities? What does that have to do with hurricane relief, you may ask. Well, nothing, actually.
Here’s what the site actually says:
Rebuilding in areas impacted by Harvey will be most challenging for marginalized communities. Nearly a quarter of Houstonians live in poverty, approximately 550,000 people, and there are about 575,000 immigrants in the Houston metro area. We will work to ensure that Harvey’s most vulnerable victims have access to critical services from first response and basic needs to healthcare, housing and transportation.
Together we will organize and advocate for our devastated communities, shining a spotlight on inequalities that emerge in the restoration of lives, livelihoods, and homes, amplifying the needs of hard-hit communities, and providing legal assistance for residents wrongfully denied government support.
The page is also filled with logos of far-left groups like the SEIU.
As one person on Twitter noted:
The criticism she received prompted her to blame the “alt-right.”
“‘Alt-right’ must have sent out an email blast. My mentions are on steroids,” she said.
"Alt-right" must have sent out an email blast. My mentions are on steroids.
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) August 30, 2017
Critics came out in full force:
Your mentions are on steroids because you are soliciting "relief funds" for an organization that says the money will not go to relief. https://t.co/MDoJLHhoOK
— RBe (@RBPundit) August 30, 2017
You put out a call to exploit disaster victims.
— jimtreacher.substack.com (@jtLOL) August 30, 2017
One person called her a “grifter.”
Right and left see what you are. #Grifter
— PeytonsHead (@BigHeadBS) August 30, 2017
Another suggested Attorney General Jeff Sessions prosecute her for soliciting funds under false pretenses:
Another called her a “con artist.”
No, just normal people who know a con artist when they see one.
— Brigette (@Brigette912) August 30, 2017
You tried to raise money for a PAC by saying it was for Harvey relief. Idiot
— Rob Eno (@Robeno) August 30, 2017
Not everyone criticized Sarsour. One person said she should “keep up the good work,” telling her: “A strong, outspoken woman is a threat.”
Don't pay them any attention. A strong, outspoken woman is a threat. Keep up the good work. Love from your sister in Islam.
— k.thomas (@kalenakhalifa) August 30, 2017
Another apparent supporter told Sarsour:
Thank you for all you do and who you are is very much appreciated.
— Rev Elaine White (@RevElaineWhite) August 30, 2017
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the fundraiser is part of Big Labor’s efforts to raise money for organizing:
The Texas Organizing Project Education Fund, a labor-affiliated group looking to make inroads in right-to-work Texas, launched the Hurricane Harvey Community Relief Fund in the wake of the flooding that has devastated the Houston area. The donation page says the fund will “move the material aid the most vulnerable hit by Harvey,” but that “material” goes beyond standard humanitarian aid. Donations, the page says, will help the SEIU-funded group organize workers.
“Your donation is vital to ensuring that we have the resources we need to organize and fight for Texans devastated by Hurricane Harvey,” the page says.
The relief fund is sponsored by a number of prominent liberal advocacy groups and politically influential unions: the SEIU; Communication Workers of America; Faith in Texas, a group that fights for “economic and racial justice”; Texas RioGrande Legal Aid; Texas Housers, an affordable housing advocate; and the labor-affiliated Workers Defense Project. While the group says it will meet the “first response” needs of residents, it plans to use the fund to advance its organizing agenda.
And, the report said, the effort has been widely criticized by labor watchdogs:
Labor watchdogs criticized the group for exploiting the tragedy to finance its political agenda. Michael Saltsman, research director for the pro-free market Employment Policy Institute, said that the Texas Organizing Project should be satisfied with the “large sums of money they get from labor unions to support a southern strategy for workplace organizing,” rather than fundraising off of the community’s devastation.
“The fine print for this so-called ‘relief fund’ makes clear that it funds workplace organizing efforts, rather than direct aid for Harvey victims,” he said. “If Americans want to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, they should donate to an organization like the Red Cross—not Big Labor and its affiliates.”
The Texas Organizing Project, which did not respond to request for comment regarding how fundraising will be split between humanitarian and organizing aid, has benefitted from hundreds of thousands of dollars from union contributions. It has received more than $1.7 million from labor unions since 2014.
No wonder Sarsour got hammered.
One Twitter user summed it up nicely:
Clears it up for us…
- CNN’s Zeleny falsely claims Trump showed little empathy for Hurricane Harvey victims
- Linda Sarsour: CNN’s Jake Tapper a white nationalist for disagreeing with her
- Linda Sarsour — She is “Taking Names” and “They will Pay with Their Pockets”
- White House petition demands: ‘Try Linda Sarsour for Sedition’
- Linda Sarsour defends call for ‘jihad’ against Trump, says conservative critics…
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