March 26, 2018 – Pasadena, CA –The Pasadena Fire Fighters Association, Local 809, urges the residents of Southern California to be aware of a potentially fraudulent solicitation that is occurring to benefit an out-of-state entity. An association is soliciting donations for “The Firefighters & Emergency Responders Coalition” is making calls to members of the public, including Pasadena Firefighters, asking for donations to “help firefighters and their families.” Upon further research, it has been determined that the “The Firefighters & Emergency Responders Coalition” is not a local entity seeking donations, but rather a Political Action Committee that has funded Congressional candidates outside of California. A check of the Attorney General Xavier Becerra charity website does not show the entity registered in the state of California.
“I am troubled that a Political Action Committee appears to be seizing on the public’s goodwill towards helping firefighters to further political aspirations that have zero positive impact in Southern California. I was personally misled by a phone call I received and thankfully, was able to determine that the organization is not aligned with our organization or with any other firefighter organization I am aware of,” stated Scott Austin, President of the Pasadena Fire Fighters Association, Local 809.
The Pasadena Fire Fighters Association urges members of the public to refuse to contribute to “The Firefighters & Emergency Responders Coalition” and demand removal from the telemarketing list. While the Pasadena Fire Fighters Association always appreciates the public’s support during “Fill-the-boot,” “Pasadena Goes Pink” or other local charitable events, we would never disguise our intentions to solicit political contributions for political candidates, especially those in other states.
“They’ll tell you, in a disarmingly friendly way, that they’re soliciting donations to help Firefighters and their families or represent the firefighter’s charity. What the callers really hope to do is to drain your bank accounts in order to further their political activity. It’s a sham and a shame that people would veil their intentions in the name of supporting firefighters. As actual firefighters, we do not condone this type of activity and request the calls into our community stop immediately,” added Austin.
The Federal Trade Commission, realizing public safety is used as a tactic for sham donations, has suggested that “just because an organization claims it has local ties or works with local police or firefighters doesn’t mean contributions will be used locally or for public safety.” The FTC outlines a series of questions that citizens can ask to determine the validity of the solicitation, including “calling the organization or your local police or fire department to verify fundraisers claim to be collecting on behalf of the organization or department.”
Media Contact: Kian Kaeni (213) 741-1500 X547 or Kian@ekapr.com