U2 Can be a Hypocrite like Ben Cardin

Here’s Ben Cardin responding to an argument no on made.

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I was surprised to read the June 20 op-ed by Matt Patterson “U2: Great music in the service of a dubious charity,” which contained misinformation about ONE, the anti-poverty, advocacy group cofounded by U2 lead singer Bono, with whom I have worked closely on critical development initiatives for the world’s poor.

Rather than Mr. Patterson’s suggestion that ONE is somehow a failed charity, they are, in fact, a global advocacy organization fighting poverty in Africa by moving government officials to better use development assistance funding to reach the largest amount of people.

Ummm ok.

But, here’s what Patterson actually wrote.

Last year, Bono’s nonprofit ONE foundation was at the center of semi-scandal when it was revealed that in 2008 the organization raised $14,993,873 in public donations — of which only $184,732 (or just over ONE percent) was distributed to charities. Where did the rest go? Well, more than $8 million went to salaries for executives and employees at ONE. In response to the fusillade of criticism following these revelations, ONE spokesman Oliver Buston explained, “We don’t provide programs on the ground. We’re an advocacy and campaigning organization.”

Much of the “advocacy” is directed at governments; organizations like ONE aggressively lobby world leaders to contribute “aid” (read: tax dollars) to anti-poverty and environmental causes.

Given Patterson accurately described the ONE foundation, in the same terms the senator used, what exactly is Cardin’s beef?

In fact, one would think Cardin, who recently called for an end to tax breaks for big oil, would have saved his opprobrium for Bono and U2’s decision to move from Ireland to the Netherlands to avoid paying higher taxes.

Perhaps Senator Cardin should avoid the op/ed pages. His track record lately is a “comedy of errors.”

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