One of the most well-known veterans’ activist groups is the Wounded Warrior Project or WWP, founded in 2002 and whose stated mission is “to honor and empower wounded warriors.” However, the organization has recently come under fire from an Indiana Man named Dean Graham who runs his own non-profit called Help Indiana Vets. According to the Indianapolis Star, WWP has filed a defamation lawsuit against Graham. His claims were picked up by “conservative media blogs” and that he sent e-mailed allegations to “state and federal government entities as well as media outlets such as Fox News, CNN, and the Bob & Tom Show” which the group alleges cost them donations.
On the Help Indiana Vets website, Graham alleges that WWP has never shown evidence of “one actual thing they have done to help a Wounded Warrior.” He alleges that they instead exploit veterans “and use them as a heart tugging way to solicit donations.” He also claims that they paid Trace Adkins to appear in their commercial as a way to “further play on peoples[sic] emotions.”
According to the Star report, WWP’s “funding is primarily put toward physical rehabilitation and stress-reduction or depression programs for veterans. The group also distributes care items such as clothing, toiletries, and playing cards to veterans staying in hospitals.” WWP is accredited by the Better Business Bureau who report that 83 percent of money donated goes towards veterans’ programs.
An anonymous blogger, identified only as Tax Accountant and Former WWP supporter, challenges those claims with analysis of the group’s annual tax filings. According to his or her findings WWP donates less than 70 percent of their earnings to their causes. The discrepancy comes because the anonymous blogger discounts all donations of ad time or other “in kind” donations that aren’t cash.
Graham, however, stands by his claims. In fact, he has called on his supporters (without regard to the irony one supposes) for help with his legal expenses, saying that it will be the “fight of the century.” Neither WWP or Trace Adkins’ publicist responded to Opposing Views’ request for comment.
Full disclosure: Article author, Joshua M. Patton, has donated to Wounded Warriors Project in the past.