What is the best way to open the subject of my mother's excessive contributions to all kinds of political propaganda?

Follow
Share

I've known she gets masses of mail every day for years, but recently discovered that her contributions are now over $2500 a month, many on a weekly payment plan of $20 a week. She writes over 125 checks every month. These are from all kinds of conservative political organizations and she thinks she's saving America by supporting their sensationalized causes. She's pretty secretive in how she spends her money, and wants to keep it that way. Please help us open the conversation.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
10

Answers

Show:
I put my mother on the do not call list. It doesn't stop everything, but drastically reduced the calls. When I am there and I pick up a call, I remind them she is on the do not call list.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

The more checks she writes, the more solicitations she is going to get so it is best to get her to stop. Point out to her exactly how much she is giving. These organizations are masters are tricking, especially the elderly, to give a small amount over a set number of payments so they don't realize the total. Contact them yourself and tell them to remove her from the mailing list. Intercept her mail (this worked with myfamily member who knew I was doing it but was relieved b/c when she didn't see the solicitations, she had no urge to give). And this is not playing dirty. Those who take advantage of the elderly, etc to get this money out of them are playing dirty. Go to the website for charity navigator and see how much goes to the actual cause vs to paying these solicitors and salaries of "administrators". Take away the credit card or checkbook so they don't know the numbers. I know not always possible but believe me, they will thank you after a while when they realize they have been drained and duped. Whenever you can, intercept phone calls and tell them to cease calling and contacting. You can go to the organization website usually and find out how to stop further mailings. have her read this article:
Both national party committees spend big chunks on fancy meals, hotels, travel

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Both the national Democratic and Republican party committees spend about two-thirds of the money they take in on the care and comfort of committee staffs and on efforts to raise more funds, with lavish spending on limousines, expensive hotels, meals and tips, an analysis of the latest financial disclosure data shows.


Monthly committee spending reports, like those that were due by midnight Tuesday, illustrate cultures in which vast sums are consumed with limited accountability, a Washington Post review has found. Neither committee appears to have clear internal spending guidelines, and their reports do not explain hefty expenditures in categories such as "office supplies" and "tips" that consume tax-exempt party funds.
The two parties assert that to raise money, they must spend it, and both have long used donated funds to court and pamper prospective donors with luxurious getaways and gifts.
The nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, in an analysis done at the request of The Post, calculated, however, that administrative and fundraising expenses consumed about $60 million of Democratic revenue in this cycle through the end of February, or 59 percent of total revenue that exceeded $100 million. For Republicans, the amount exceeded $74 million, or 68 percent of $109 million in revenue.
Sheila Krumholz, the center's executive director, said the controversy last month over the Republican National Committee's expenditure of $1,946 for meals at a bondage-themed nightclub had convinced her that "there is inadequate budget oversight within the parties." Her views are not isolated: Louisiana's Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, joked at the party's New Orleans leadership conference on April 9 that "I have a word of warning for RNC staffers: You may want to stay away from Bourbon Street. Just a word of advice."

"There is a class of [political] donors who expect to be wined and dined and who expect to have gala receptions as part and parcel of giving a donation," said Anthony J. Corrado, a Colby College professor specializing in campaign finance. But he said many current expenditures "are not the type that are going to translate into a large financial boon . . . such as spending on charter flights, limousines, entertainment, food and beverages at party headquarters."
The two political committees are not typical nonprofit organizations, and such high spending for overhead is almost unheard of in the nonprofit world. A rule of thumb among nonprofits is that administrative and fundraising costs should consume no more than 20 to 25 percent of income.
Ken Berger, who runs Charity Navigator, a New Jersey group that monitors nonprofits across the country, said that "the most critical measure is effectiveness." He said his advice for prospective donors to any nonprofit group that spends as much as 60 to 70 percent of revenue on overhead, including fundraising, would be to "run away."
Spending reports at the Federal Election Commission offer vivid illustrations of luxurious tastes. When RNC Chairman Michael S. Steele and colleagues took several dozen party donors on a retreat last August to Jackson Hole, Wyo., for example, golf and tennis fees were paid, whitewater rafting and trout fishing guides were contracted, and limo drivers and photographers were hired. Flowers worth about $1,300 decorated tables filled with food from three caterers.
Including rooms at the Four Seasons Resort, which promotes itself as offering "pampered adventures," the event appears to have soaked up more than $170,000 from party coffers, the data show.
The Democratic Party racked up a similar bill -- $176,000 -- to cover 14 months of catering at events at the Washington Hilton.
Last month, the RNC spent $260,476 on a single meeting in Hawaii and $14,937 on Dallas Cowboys football tickets, according to its report Tuesday. It also paid hefty cancellation fees to Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons hotels.

The RNC's expenditures for "office supplies" in the period through February topped $773,000, according to a Post tally, including jelly beans for Steele's office and thousands of dollars' worth of liquor and wine. Although not asked to review specific party expenditures, Mindy Kramer, an Office Depot spokeswoman, said that in general, firms with 100 office workers -- about the size of the RNC headquarters staff -- spend $30,000 to $50,000 a year on supplies.


Doug Heye, the RNC spokesman, declined to reply to most questions about committee spending. Hari Sevugan, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, did not take issue with the Center for Responsive Politics' calculations but said that "fundraising is a core function of a national party."
Historically, the FEC has cared more about accounting accuracy than the appropriate use of funds. Unlike many private companies, neither committee appears to tightly enforce spending controls. Sevugan, for example, described his colleagues' decision-making as elastic.
"There are occasions when a commercial flight is not available," he said, explaining why DNC officials rent private planes. "We understand that it takes money to raise money or to operate a national political party, but we try to do so efficiently."
Although the two parties' monthly reports are supposed to delineate spending for items such as salaries, equipment, supplies, lodging, events, advertising, polling and political contributions, the explanations attached to many such items raise questions about accuracy.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

$500,000 sounds like a lot and I can understand that she feels rich. But it isn't much compared to 10 years in a nice assisted living place. Given her political belifs someone should be able to convince her that paying her own way and staying off of "welfare" are her first responsibility. If she has been somewhat protected from the financial realities of the world, she may be clueless as to what her friends are paying. (Heck, I'm not protected and I was speakless with sticker shock the first time I was ALF costs!)

Would one of her ALF friends be a good ally in this cause?

Maybeit isn't just persuasion that is needed -- but basic education. Again, something an outsider might has better luck with.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Good suggestions. Even though she loves her family, as is often the case, we don't know as much as "someone else" does about such things. Several of her friends are in assisted living facilities and she's thinking that would be kind of nice at some point, but I don't think she's thinking about what that looks like cost-wise and how fast she's eating up her resources on these donations. Longevity is in her family and we're thinking it would not be surprising for her to be alive for at least another 10 years. Thank you.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Is there a "outsider" whose opinion she values, who could talk to her. Ideally a Republican, so she won't accuse them of political bias? The practical problem with giving money away excessively is 1) if she develops impairments there might not be enough left to support herself in either her home or the kind of deluxe care center she might prefer and 2) there won't be an estate to pass on and keep within the family. I don't know if these consequences would persuade her, but they have a better chance coming from her clergy or lawyer or investment banker or best friend than from a family member.

I think persuasion is your only tool

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thankfully somewhere along the line someone got through to her not to participate in the email scams out of Nigeria regarding "rich uncle who died and left estate to her", et al. She only became "political" within the last decade through the influence of one of her politically active Republican cousins who has since died. I would talk to him about what he has "created" if he were still living. He was very interested in keeping his estate (and my aunt's for whom he was executor) in the family. She grew up in the Depression and all my life (with my 4 surviving siblings) we were quite poor, so now with her total assets of approximately $500,000 she feels rich and able to give all of this away. (Ironically, as a side note and to give some perspective, she does not give anything to her children or grandchildren except for $30 a year at Christmas. This is not about what she does or does not give to us though). She is a sweet lady, but is very naive, believes everything they tell her.....but not what we tell her about how the sensationaized letters are written to get maximum donations, about mail merge that make them seem so personalized, about where her money is actually going including many tmes to a CEO who draws a salary higher than any of her kids make, and so on. Like i said, she is very secretive about her money and how she spends it. I actually snooped (which thankfully my sister-in-law and brother supported) because I suspected her "donating" had not gotten "better" and, in fact, it had multiplied by at least 3 times since sometime back when I discovered what she was doing. All 5 of us kids (ages 52 to 65) live at least 40 miles from her, but we are all involved in her life, but need some help to help her understand that she has an addiction and that she's a victim and that we want to help.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Well, I'd like to say, "Stop her!" ... but it is her money, she is in her right mind, and she can do as she pleases with it. Keep an eye out for any signs of cognitive impairment. If she becomes vulnerable in the legal sense you could step in and protect her from exploitation. Otherwise the right to make our own decisions is a very, very strong element of our culture (no matter who is in office!)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

She will soon be 87. She lives by herself, by choice. She really is a very sharp woman cognitively, though complains of not quickly remembering names, places, etc. like she used to...but eventually remembers most everything. She still keeps meticulous records of all her spending, including balancing her bank statement each month. That's a fete within itself, considering from March 31 to April 30, she wrote over 130 checks of which all but 7 or 8 were for these donations. Can she afford this? Well, at this point in time, her income is approximately $2500 a month. Her actual living expenses are pretty minimal. She has access to an investment with Edward Jones that she draws on to cover anything over her living expenses and her exorbitant donations. She still drives, does her own grocery shopping, is in good health taking only blood pressure medicine. She reads all the propaganda coming in the mail and is sure the Democrats and Obama are taking America down the tube and she must do her part to keep that from happening.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My dad does this too!!! I was getting like 10+ calls a day from people asking for money. I have begun asking all of them to please remove my dad from their calling lists. I tell them he is 87 and very hard of hearing, so he doesn't take calls anymore. I was constantly catching him on the phone giving out his credit card number! Did get through to him a bit when he found that "someone" ordered a carton of cigs and a laptop computer on his credit card... I know he has been scammed over and over as he is so trusting and gullible. "Oh, but they are doing a good thing!" I tell him for all he knows, they are doing the opposite of what they are saying and he is paying for it! Or they can be paying their own bills with his money. DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR CC INFO!! I still catch him from time to time. I do throw away a lot, 5+ a day that come in the mail if I get to them before he opens them. People prey on the elderly as they tend to be less skeptical. **sigh**
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Can she afford this? Is this spending pattern putting her at risk for continuing to support herself the rest of her life?

Does she have any mental/cognitive impairments? Dementia?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.