The American Red Cross is changing its organizational structure, something a strong Iowa critic of the agency is applauding. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says he hopes the effort to modernize the Red Cross from the top down will help it to better support its charitable mission.
Grassley says “The Red Cross has done a good faith effort to overhaul their organization, to improve its operation, to make sure the money that’s contributed is not wasted and to make sure they’re ready for helping in natural disasters like they traditionally have been but showed great failure in (Hurricane) Katrina.”
Grassley says he began to scrutinize the Red Cross in the months following the September 11th terrorist attacks when questions were raised about how donations were being used to help with recovery efforts in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. Grassley says “And also to make sure that the money is managed well so that things that happened after 9-11 don’t happen again. In other words, a lot of people donated money but it’s not distributed. Also, the same complaint when we had the earthquake tsunami in the Indian Ocean.”
Grassley is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee which is responsible for tax policy. He’s led a review of the non-profit sector and has won approval of legislative reforms aimed at certain abuses. He says the Red Cross is now moving in the right direction. Grassley says “They’ve started with the proposition that things were broken and a band-aid would not help and they’re moving ahead. We have to pass legislation to carry this out. I hope we can pass the legislation in the lame duck session or early next year.” He says these past incidents have “shaken public confidence” in the Red Cross and now the agency “needs to go the extra mile with governance reforms to ensure public confidence.”
Grassley says the Red Cross also has taken good steps to support whistleblowers who are speaking out at problems they see.