Sound Off: Should Veterans Charities Accept Funds From Political Campaigns?


When Republican candidate Donald J. Trump boycotted the Fox News debate last Thursday night, he held a competing event that he organized as a benefit for wounded troops and claims to have raised $6 million.

On Saturday night in Davenport, IA, he gave a check for $100,000 to the Puppy Jake Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing service dogs to veterans.

On the other hand, Paul Rieckhoff from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America announced on Twitter that IAVA would decline any donations from the Trump event.

There are certainly plenty of military charities who can use a share of that $6 million. For all the talk in civilian America about “supporting the troops,” most veteran organizations are woefully underfunded. Yet Rieckhoff makes an important point: in an America where emotions run so high during a political campaign (proof: your Facebook feed), should any organization that aims to help veterans as a group allow itself to be aligned with any individual candidate?

Trump, Hillary, Ted, Bernie, Ben, Martin: they all have detractors who worked up to a fever pitch whenever their names are mentioned (well, let’s be fair: Martin O’Malley probably doesn’t).

Is Trump using veterans charities for political gain? Should the charities care? Would a veterans charity that accepted donations from a candidate you hate change your decision about whether to support that charity? Sound off!


  • Leon Suchorski

    When you NEED the money, you ask yourself, “How much do I need the money?”, not where did it come from. You can think of it as you are in the ocean, and your worst enemy throws you a rope. Of course you take it. You do not have many choices in that case.

  • Ken Taylor

    First 6 million sounds like a lot of money, but there are somewhere around 28 million veterans in the United States. That translates to about 21.4 cents per Veteran. Donald Trump has shown what he really thinks of Veterans. They are worth 21 cents to him for anything except votes. If a candidate wants to support Veterans provide a legitimate policy that fixes the issues.

    There are still Vietnam era Veterans fighting to get the benefits they deserve. The VA claims backlog is a shell game. Once they have adjudicated the claim (denied) it is in appeal which is not part of the reported backlog.

    Don’t tout your 21 cents to me. Tell me how you are going to fix the real issues.

    • Phil Kagan USNR

      I assume you are not a Trump fan.

      Having said that, I think you out of line to equate 21cents with his feelings for vets.

      Don’t allow your inclinations to mask the fact that 21 cents is more than Jeb, Marco and Ted raised for vets in total.

      Be thankful for what you receive and don’t let political leanings negate results.

      • wtpworrier

        I assume you are a Trump fan…

    • Paul

      And what does Hillary Clinton or Sanders thinks of Veterans? since they did nothing or donated nothing I will have to say $0.00

  • OldSgt

    In this case where a candidate running for Presidential Office gives a donation to a Veterans Organization in public, I don’t have an issue with this. BUT when an organization accepts the funds and uses the donation poorly for helping Disabled Vets, is a crime. Weather a politician contributes to a Veterans Organization in public or private is none of your damn business. I say Hurrah Donald.

  • Kat53

    No, accepting the “donation” implies endorsement.

    • Phil Kagan, USNR

      You’ve got to be kidding.

      Can your vote be bought?

      Neither can mine.

      Thank you, Mr. Donald

    • EAS

      It is well known that if VA provided the additional care/ services to veterans in need, veterans service organizations wouldn’t have to… As for an endorsement, if a vet isn’t able to vote his conscience regardless of the donor, that is on the vet… not Trump or anyone else.

  • Vietnam Vet

    No! Maybe if the WWP stopped wasting money on their management conventions, there would be more money for the VSO’s to help more Veterans.

    • Lee Ervin

      Amen to that!

  • George Shaw

    I ask myself-WHY NOT- Veterans are in need -homeless, injuries received in combat-non-combat, yes there is a need to accept donotions where ever they come from, unless abused by the receiver.

  • USAF-Ret

    No! No! And Hell NO!
    This should never had, regardless of who the candidate or partty is.
    Kat53 is spot-on. I don’t care if the money comes from Trump, Cruz, Sanders, or Clinton, ad nausium.
    To OldSgt, you’re very wrong in stating “it none of your damn business “, because everyone needs to be smart in who the donate to (high over-head/high
    excutive salaries are the biggest waste!). The organizations are required by law to make public their finacial statements).
    The IAVA stated a sound, intelligent policy that no liberal or conservative should quibble about.

  • USN-Ret

    Publically no. If the candidate want’s to give anonymously then sure but they all want the publicity. What could be done is a requirement that ALL candidates that are running for President have a fundraising activity during their run with the donations going to veteran charities, since they all want to be our Commander in Chief. Sort of a put your money where your mouth is. But we all know that will never happen.

  • Art Mc Donald

    I don’t think political related contributions are a good idea, they would come with too many strings and favors attached. I appreciated the guys comment about a life line but we need to be more circumspect where the money comes from. (From an old Navy vet.)

    • Patricia

      Trump is using his own money to campaign. What favors does the other owe? Remember they all get their money from other people that always want a favor!!!

  • OldDevilDog

    Donations to veterans charities are great……BUT……IMHO it’s a shame that we even need these charities. Our government should be providing everything we need and the fact that it does not says much more to me than all this election year grandstanding.

  • navbb62

    No money from politicians. Where was Trump’s money for veterans before he became an air head politician?

    • wtpworrier

      That’s a good question….

    • mona

      how do you know he hasn’t already given money to the veterans? where is cruz and Rubio’s money going?

  • Don Bryson

    Trump is having a hay day, telling us over, and over again how wonderful he is for the $6m he raised. This is politics in the gutter. All a candidate needs to say is, that with the help of many wonderful people WE not I, have raised money that will help veterans. Any politician who uses disabled vets or other related causes needs to tread carefully, or they’ll step on the wrong toes.

  • Geo

    OK, so we have a nice picture event….but NO. There’s always strings attached.

  • BFVmikegolf

    While he (Trump) did say beforehand that all monies raised would be donated to Veterans’ Charities. It should have been done as a “stand alone” event. Not tied to politics, which can’t be denied no matter whom you support.

  • wtpworrier

    I say no. Politicians get bought all the time by big corporations , and in return, those politicians are pretty much owned by those corporations so they expect something in return. If a politician turn around and “donate” that money to vet groups, those politicians will expect something in return…like votes. Vet groups should not be beholden to a political party, they should vote for the candidate that will help them the most. A politician will do anything to get votes…don’t let them buy your vote, make them earn it.

  • Patricia

    Before kicking Trump in the teeth. Did anyone watch the first debate? He was afraid that he would no be treated fairly by that Kelly girl on FOX news. She attacked him like a mean dog! He did not want a repeat of that. How much money has anyone else raised for “us” vets?

  • mona

    seriously what is wrong with what trump did? what is really even more disgusting is this: why would a government that is protected by these young men and women LET CHARITY BE THEIR MAIN CONCERN IN GETTING MONEY!? why isn’t our government providing everything these young men and women NEED!! why do they even have to ask for money!!! it makes me so upset when I see a wounded warriors ad or any other ad for money for these young people!!! DOESNT IT YOU!!!
    ITS LIKE THEY ARE BEGGING TO BE TAKEN CARE OF….this should not happen!!! we the people have a duty to help these kids out, instead we give money to the REFUGEES!!!! whats wrong with that picture!!! wake up people. this government is so corrupt Trump did a good thing and this piece of poop is dragging ti down….wake up!!!

  • CMC (ret)

    I would accept the funds, and make it clear that donations from other candidates would also be welcome. A charity can accept the funds and still make it clear their endorsement is never for sale. I see that regularly when politions from each party donate to and take part in USO and Armed Services YMCA fund raisers.

  • Jean

    A while back the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were people, which gives us the problem we have now. The Supreme Court does not have the authority to make laws yet they have been doing it for decades in their rulings. This is just one thing a branch of our government has been doing that goes against our Constitution. So why isn’t this checks and balances thing working? A group of grass roots citizens have been working for the last couple of years to bring about Article V, Convention of States. This can be risky if not brought together correctly and carefully but they are moving forward and I think everyone should consider this as a viable solution to our out of control country. Look them up and do the research.

  • Paul

    I do not see ant problems as long as there are no Strings attached.

  • Scott

    Giving money is wrong? Giving it publicly is worse? If that logic is applied to ALL donations then you have created an issue that is a circle argument – it can never be resolved. Truth is not subjective – the money was given to help – the good that can be done with that money exists ONLY because it was GIVEN. Just for arguments sake lets say the giving from Trump “inspires” others to give, judging motivations is effort that should be directed toward helping vets NOT toward disrespecting the donor. Offering help unsolicited is good, the motivations to such help are a mute point IF you are really concerned about the vets. The argument that somehow the money is “tainted” is unbelievable. Grow up, put on your big boy pants and do WHATEVER IS NECESSARY to provide any assistance to our vets short of seditious or unpatriotic acquiescence.

  • Nancy

    Check Trump’s donation history if you have a question, when their tax returns are public. He funded the 50th Anniversary Vietnam Parade in NY. But if folks took the time to actually check their REAL actions, they would see who they have actually contributed to over the years.

    Should a political campaign donate ? NO as the donations the campaign receives are for the campaign, no to be given away to something else, Veterans or not. Can a person running for office personally sponsor an event to raise funds for something else – YES

  • TJ Rbg

    Donations from anyone, endorsements to no one.

    Members of VSOs run the gamut of political belief in the local halls of their organization. Same goes for opinions about who cares for vets and who doesnt. Let free speech among members determine individual “endorsement”. Continue to focus efforts and energy (as most VSOS do) on seeking help from those those who are in a position to get help for vet issues. The political movers and shakers who get things done for vets (not just lip service) are the ones to be seriously endorsred.

    I liked the concept of the mid-ocean rescue. It’s what happens later forthe person who threw rope. Thanked for making the rescue? Or placed in a position superior to others for just doing the right thing. The devil is in the details and, as is clear in these posts, in our individual determination. Bottom line for all of us is that we rescue the person in the raft. Most VSOS can really use that rope if they are to continue to help vets with the programs they have in place.

  • Ray

    First off I’m not for Trump and by what he did isn’t buying my vote, because I have a mind of mine own. But for the people here that think strings are attached or he’s buying votes you’re crazy. All politicians are trying to buy your vote by the lies and promises that they are going to make that favor your ideals. First, the $1 million of the $6 million was from Trump. If he wants to give it away so be it. But the other $5 million was raised by people who must both care about vets and wanting to help vets. But even if some might be giving just to support Trump in the long run its benefiting vets by doing it. Just because these groups accept the donations doesn’t mean he’s buying their vote or endorsing him. They would be accepting just they want to help vets no matter where the money comes from. Like Old Devil Dog said, it’s a shame that we even need these charities. Our government should be providing everything we need and the fact that it doesn’t says much more than all this election year grandstanding.

  • DNeer CPO, Ret

    Absolutely!!! Especially when it is from a fund raiser not out of the candidates pocket. To turn down any $$ is ludicrous when every dollar counts.

  • Dude911

    Charities are not allowed to endorse any candidate if they are non profits.

    Face it, it doesn’t mean anything. They should be able to take every dime they can get, but they cant endorse any political candidate.

  • Daniel

    1) Veteran support groups need the money.
    2) Accepting the donation is not an endorsement of Trump or any other candidate.
    3) Refusing the donation would be a political act, charities should never become political.
    4) It may discourage future donations from others if the money is refused.

  • Steve

    Don’t get stuck on stupid. Take the money and put it to the best use possible for those vets most in need. Then go and ask the rest of the candidates running and spending obscene amounts of dough on frivolous campaign glitter why they have not helped.

  • Kevin

    Well Paul I suppose it depends on what caused the MP to be in that situation. They’re funny memes, lighten up.