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Press Release - Elizabeth Dole Increases Donations to Red Cross Fund

February 07, 1996

Elizabeth Dole today wrote a personal check for $74,635 to the American Red Cross to increase a special fund she created in 1991 for at-risk youth. She wrote the check after learning that a tax and accounting error had resulted in a lower contribution than she had intended to make.

To date, Mrs. Dole has contributed $ 490,362 of her own money to the Rowan County Chapter fund and the Mary Cathey Hanford fund of the American Red Cross, named to honor her mother. Her family's foundation has contributed $ 50,000. These contributions to the Red Cross are in addition to Mrs. Dole foregoing her first year salary of $ 200,000 while serving as the organization's president. The benefit to the American Red Cross of Mrs. Dole's charitable contributions and her foregone salary during her first year as President is almost equivalent to the salary she earned during her four and half year tenure at the Red Cross.

After recent press reports suggested a possible discrepancy between her announced intention and her actual contribution, Mrs. Dole requested a review of her taxes and finances by outside counsel. It was through review that she discovered the unintended shortfall.

"Two weeks ago I requested a review of my finances. The review is now complete, and I was disappointed to learn that my wishes had not been carried out. However, I remain deeply committed to the cause of the Rowan County Chapter and Mary Cathey Hanford funds, and gladly write a check today to make good on my commitment to the young people of America," remarked Mrs. Dole.

When Mrs. Dole began her contributions in 1991, she pledged to donate to the American Red Cross all income she earned from public speaking while at the Red Cross except for speech expenses, taxes, and an annual contribution to her retirement savings.

In addition to her check today, Mrs. Dole has also filed amended tax returns. The amendments reflect additional unreported contributions made by Mrs. Dole and by third parties to the American Red Cross in lieu of paying speaking fees to Mrs. Dole. Mrs. Dole also said she will change the accounting firm handling her financial affairs.

The Honorable Elizabeth Dole

Dole for President

810 First Street NE

Suite 300

Washington, DC 20002

Dear Mrs. Dole:

As you know, after you became President of the American Red Cross, you decided to contribute to the American Red Cross amounts that you received from paid speaking engagements, in your private capacity, net of taxes, contributions to a self-employment retirement plan and speech expenses. Pursuant to this plan you periodically made contributions in amounts that were calculated for you after the end of each year, which totalled $ 415,727 through 1995.

In response to recent press inquiries which raised the possibility that your contributions to the American Red Cross may have fallen short of your intention, you asked me to review the situation and to advise you whether this is the case and, if so, what additional contribution should be made. To answer these questions, I have reviewed the records of your contributions supplied by the American Red Cross and your records of your speaking fees, expenses and contributions to Red Cross.

To measure fairly the tax burden associated with your speaking income it is necessary first to calculate your joint tax return with the income and deductions relating to the speaking fees included, and then to calculate your joint tax return without those items included. The difference, representing the tax associated with your speaking fees, should then be added to amounts for self-employment tax and local taxes.

The information provided to you since 1991 over-estimated the amount that should be attributed to taxes, and thus you were advised to make contributions to the American Red Cross that totalled less than you would have done if your original intent had been implemented correctly. I have also determined that you were not credited correctly with certain contributions made by you and with certain contributions that were made directly to Red Cross by sponsoring groups in lieu of paying speaking fees to you.

At my request, your accountant has recalculated the amounts to be contributed to the Red Cross to implement your original intent, as set forth above. Taking the correct information into account, through December 31, 1994 (the last year for which a tax return has been filed) you have contributed $ 364,550. In 1995, and as will be reflected on your tax return, you contributed an additional $ 51,177 related to your speaking fees earned in 1994.

If you now make an additional contribution of $ 74,635, all of the speaking fees net of the amounts discussed above will have been contributed to the American Red Cross, as you intended and as you believed was being done throughout this period.

Because, as discussed above, you were not credited correctly with certain speaking fees and contributions to the American Red Cross, you may wish to amend your tax returns. Since I understand your strong interest in attending to this matter, I have asked your accountant to proceed promptly with these amendments.


Robert P. Davis

Robert Dole, Press Release - Elizabeth Dole Increases Donations to Red Cross Fund Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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