The winner for the most outrageous philanthropy story of the week goes to the New York Daily News, which reported that Jane Fonda’s charitable foundation has not made a single donation in the past five years. According to documents acquired by the Smoking Gun website, “the organization's portfolio was valued at $798,133. However, the foundation made no payouts in the form of contributions or grants since 2006. That year, the group made a $1,000 donation to the Atlanta Obstetric and Gynecology Society.”
There has been some back and forth over whether Fonda’s foundation was able to meet its legally required 5% annual payout by giving more in the years leading up to 2006. And the foundation’s representatives have now claimed that some contributions made by Fonda’s foundation were incorrectly reported on her personal tax returns rather than the foundation’s. And that the person who made these errors has now been fired. Good for them.
But it doesn’t quite explain why the foundation claimed that as president, Fonda was devoting 10 hours a week to working for the foundation for the past several years. How much time does it take to not give out money anyway?
Regardless of whether Fonda’s foundation adhered to the letter of the law or not, this anecdote is useful for pointing out a couple of hypocrisies. First, of course, despite all their talk about caring more, liberals actually give less. In his 2006 book, Who Really Cares: The Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, AEI president Arthur Brooks found that conservatives give about 30 percent more to charitable causes even though liberals earn on average 6 percent more money. And, in my anecdotal experience anyway, liberals claim to be more compassionate. So it’s not surprising that Hanoi Jane is not much of a philanthropist.
Second, despite liberals claim that we can just raise taxes on rich people and they will hardly notice, apparently rich people do a lot to reduce their taxes. Even liberal rich people. Fonda, ex-wife of Ted Turner, is reportedly worth about $120 million. By liberal logic, the $800,000 that Fonda has put into her foundation is pocket change. Why are her accountants engaged in all these shenanigans anyway just to get the deduction?
John Conway, an entertainment attorney told FoxNews.com: “This sort of publicity is never good for any celebrity, when their charity foundation appears stingy at best.” Couldn’t have happened to a better woman.