MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Attorney General has a warning for those planning on donating their cars to Kars4Kids.
Attorney General Lori Swanson said almost none of the money raised is going to Minnesota children; instead, the money goes directly to an Orthodox Jewish outreach program called Oorah Incorporated that is based in New Jersey.
The report also blasts Kars4Kids accounting practices saying they are inflating the percentage of donations that go directly to charitable ventures.
Kars4Kids’ famous jingle and the charity’s website give no indication that the money raised for Kars4Kidsis going to Oorah.
“I think it’s important when people donate to a charity that they know where their money is going,” Swanson said.
Swanson says during a two-year period 5,800 Minnesotans donated cars, raising $3 million for Kars4Kids, but of that only $11,600 went to Minnesota children.
Swanson says the organization is also violating IRS accounting rules and that some donations ended up financing other Oorah ventures.
“We looked at were Oorah is spending their money and we found over $9 million that were lost in real estate transactions,” she said.
Swanson says in part because Kars4Kids is not based in Minnesota the only action she can take is to turn over her findings to the IRS,
This is not the first report to criticize Kars4Kids; in March, the national monitoring group Charity Watch said Karz4Kids ads “deceive potential donors” by not revealing who they are raising money for.
Kars4Kids issued a statement saying in part that they operate charity programs for children across the U.S. and that they are evaluating Swanson’s accounting findings.