Iowa Attorney General reaches agreement with fundraisers

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said Wednesday a Minnesota fundraising group that solicits donations for law enforcement-related associations has agreed to change its fundraising practices in Iowa under a formal settlement with his office.

Public Safety Council, LLP, and Community Safety, LLC, both headquartered in Minneapolis, their subcontractor, Safety Services, LLC, of St. Paul, and their principals, J. Michael Callan and Robert T. Callan, have entered into a voluntary compliance agreement with the Iowa Attorney Generalís Office, according to Geoff Greenwood of the AGís office.

Miller alleged that telephone solicitors at a call center in St. Paul, Minn., contacted Iowans on behalf of at least three Iowa law enforcement associations and, during several calls which were recorded by the AGís consumer protection division, engaged in unfair and deceptive conduct. The respondents deny wrongdoing or liability of any kind as part of the voluntary compliance agreement, he added.

The solicitations were made on behalf of the Iowa State Police Association, the Iowa State Reserve Law Officers Association and the Iowa Peace Officers Association, and up to 85 percent of the donated funds were retained by the fundraisers with the remainder actually going to the associations. The Attorney Generalís Office contends that telephone fundraisers failed to identify themselves as paid professional fundraisers and allegedly made misrepresentations during the contacts.

Under the assurance of voluntary compliance, the fundraising group and the principals agreed in any future solicitations to Iowans not to make false or misleading representations of material facts while fundraising and not to state or imply that solicitors are members, employees or volunteers for the beneficiary organizations or agencies.

They also must state clearly before soliciting that the call is originating from a professional fundraiser; establish policies and practices to ensure that telephone solicitors provide accurate and informative responses to consumersí questions about the percentage of donations that go to the recipient organization; and they must record and store a certain number of solicitation calls and provide them to the Attorney General upon request. They also cannot misrepresent or obscure the location from which the telephone solicitor is calling; misrepresent or overstate the benefit of a donation to a consumerís local community, region or state; misrepresent or misstate the frequency of phone solicitations to consumers; or provide performance bonuses to telemarketers based on dollars pledged or donated, unless tied to compliance with this agreement and acceptable company policies.

For more information about fundraising solicitations, contact the Iowa Attorney Generalís consumer protection division via the Web site or by calling 515-281-5926 or toll free at 888-777-4590.

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