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An American Red Cross official participates in a mock rescue drill simulating a boating accident in waters off the coast of San Diego, California March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake An American Red Cross official participates in a mock rescue drill simulating a boating accident in waters off the coast of San Diego, California March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake  

American Red Cross Hires Attorneys To Hide Hurricane Sandy Expenditures

The American Red Cross has employed an expensive New York law firm in an attempt to hide information about how it spent Hurricane Sandy donations, ProPublica reports.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote to the Red Cross last June requesting information regarding how the organization spent the money it received for Hurricane Sandy relief. ProPublica filed a public information request for the information given to the attorney general’s office, but Red Cross attorneys stepped in.

Gabrielle Levin, of New York’s Gibson Dunn, appealed the request and wrote to the attorney general’s office to block the release of information.

Levin wrote that the release of the information would be detrimental to the charity.

“The Red Cross objects to disclosure of the redacted portions of the documents” because those portions contain “highly proprietary and confidential … information.”

This confidential information would “cause substantial competitive and other injury to the American Red Cross.” I am unaware of any competition to the charitable organization. The American Red Cross is unique among charities as it has a federal charter from the United States Congress.

ProPublica has yet to receive the documents from the attorney general’s office regarding the spending of Hurricane Sandy donations, and Levin is attempting redact much of them.

The attorney general though is not having it. The Red Cross requested that a two-line title at the top of the page be redacted. One of those lines includes the title “American Red Cross.” In response the attorney general’s office, wrote, “I find the Red Cross has not demonstrated why this two line title is entitled to trade secret protection; without more, I cannot find that disclosure of this two line title will cause the Red Cross any economic injury.”