In Private Letter, Red Cross Tried To End Government Inquiry

The American Red Cross, which has often boasted of its transparency, attempted last year to halt a congressional inquiry into its disaster relief work, according to a private letter Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern wrote to Rep. Bennie Thompson.

In the letter, McGovern asked Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi and the ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, to “end the inquiry” he requested into the charity and how it coordinates with the federal government. The Government Accountability Office was already four months into its investigation when McGovern went to see Thompson and followed up with the letter, which was obtained by NPR and ProPublica…

…Thompson called the Red Cross’ letter “unfortunate.”

“Over time, the public has come to accept the American Red Cross as a key player in the nation’s system for disaster relief,” Thompson said in an email. “It is unfortunate that in light of numerous allegations of mismanagement, the American Red Cross would shun accountability, transparency, and simple oversight.”