Pentagon looking into complaints of improper fund raising
The Pentagon is looking into complaints that Defence Department officials charged with building public support for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan might have engaged in improper fund-raising and unauthorised spending.
The inspector general, said the New York Times, is examining whether officials who run 'America Supports You', a three-year-old Pentagon programme helped a fund-raiser for a private foundation set up last December by former Bush administration appointees. The foundation raises money to help troops and their families.
The inquiry, the paper said, is also looking into whether money used for 'America Supports You' and other public outreach programmes has been shifted improperly from Pentagon accounts intended for other purposes.
Internal memorandums and e-mail provided to investigators, copies of which the Times said were shared with it, suggest that Pentagon officials encouraged Mark Vahradian, a Hollywood film producer, to make the private foundation, called the 'America Supports You Fund'.
Pentagon employees are prohibited from soliciting on behalf of private organisations, said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman.
But Whitman also said the Defence Department routinely referred members of the public to outside organisations, some of which are listed on a Pentagon Website.