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Where will Glenn Beck rally money go?

The Lincoln Memorial -- and the rest of the Mall -- is a popular site for protests and rallies. Here are some noteworthy ones that show how hard it is to measure the size of a protesting crowd. With Glenn Beck's Saturday rally, it's best to be wary of estimates.

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By Amy Gardner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 27, 2010; 3:09 PM

Glenn Beck has billed his "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday in part as an opportunity to focus attention on those who have served in the military.

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Specifically, Beck has joined forces with a small, Tampa-based nonprofit called the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which he said will benefit from all proceeds of the event. He is encouraging his supporters to donate to the foundation.

The foundation's primary function, according to its Web site, is to provide academic scholarships to the children of special operations soldiers killed in action or training.

It's not clear how much money the foundation might receive. A footnote on the rally's Web page explains that donations will go first toward the cost of the event. Anything left over will then be kept by the foundation.

(Full coverage of Saturday's rallies)

A representative of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation referred all media inquiries to Jason Raffel, Beck's New York-based publicist. Raffel, in turn, referred inquiries back to the foundation.

Beck has said on his television and radio broadcasts that he expects the foundation to receive a "meaningful" contribution after the rally's bills are paid. He has also said the event will serve as a boon to the foundation's fundraising operation by exposing it to many new donors. He said costs of the event will be transparent to the public and reported by the foundation in accordance with IRS rules governing nonprofits.

Surviving children of special operations soldiers who die in combat or training are automatically eligible for full post-secondary scholarships through the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, according to the group's 2009 tax return. To date, 160 children of fallen soldiers have graduated from college with help from the foundation; the group is committed to providing college scholarships to 800 more.

The 2009 tax return shows that the foundation is a relatively small operation that brought in $5.8 million last year and issued $1.1 million in grants. The group spent about $700,000 on wages.

The foundation's sponsorship of the rally helps explain Beck's description of the event as "nonpolitical" and his decision not to include elected officials in the program; IRS regulations prohibit nonprofits from sponsoring political events.


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