Journalism in the Public Interest

Ask ProPublica Anything About Our Red Cross Investigation

In April, we asked the American Red Cross how it spent $312 million raised after Superstorm Sandy (a fundraising campaign that included a star-studded benefit concert). In June, they told us those spending details were a “trade secret.” In August, the charity reversed its stance, offering some new insights but stopping short of detailing exactly where the money was spent.

Now, internal documents and exclusive interviews provide a troubling account of the iconic charity’s disaster relief efforts. Americans flooded the Red Cross with donations after Sandy, confident their money would ease the suffering left behind by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac. They believed the charity was up to the job. But they were wrong.

ProPublica reporters Justin Elliott (@justinelliott) and Jesse Eisinger (@eisingerj) found that the charity botched key elements of its mission after Sandy, leaving behind a trail of unmet needs and acrimony, while outwardly claiming a “near flawless” effort.

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Following reporting by ProPublica and NPR and an investigation by his staff, Sen. Charles Grassley introduces the American Red Cross Transparency Act.