The Wounded Warriors Project, a group that has been called a “legal scam” by veterans, has successfully killed off the all-volunteer Indiana veterans assistance group “Help Indiana Veterans”.


Because Dean Graham, the head of Help Indiana Veterans, wrote that Wounded Warriors was a scam because that so-called charitable organization spends but a few pennies on the dollar in grants to fund endeavors to actually benefit wounded servicemen and women, per their IRS Form 990 from 2011.

While in 2011 WWP gave away a little over $5 million in grants, that same year, they spent over $21 million on salaries and $67 million on fundraising and other expenses.

Dean Graham thought that was a fair definition of a scam and posted his opinion on his website.  (We would link to it, but it has been taken down in recent days.)

The Wounded Warrior Project and its legal staff (it’s amazing what you can buy for legal help when you bring in hundreds of millions of dollars) disagreed and sued Graham for nearly $100,000 plus other demands.

As a result of that suit, Graham has pretty much shut down his organization, which spent nearly 100% of all donations on veterans programs to help Indiana veterans.

How ironic.

Wounded Warriors Project found itself in our crosshairs back in 2012 when they shunned partnerships with gun owners.  In essence, WWP pretty much said “give us your money but we don’t want to be seen associating with gun owners” (see stories one, two, three).

22 thoughts on “Wounded Warriors Project “legal scam” kills off grassroots, all-volunteer “Help Indiana Veterans” group”
  1. most Veterans agree the wounded warrior project may not live up too its self promotion, it never was about the Veteran but about Money!

  2. most Veterans agree the wounded warrior project may not live up too its self promotion, it never was about the Veteran but about Money!
    This corporation does give out some help but the barest minimum possible, makes their top people rich, then wants your donation so they can help 1 in 10,000 and gain more by exploiting that act as propaganda about how wonderful they are! enter a little guy that helps out as much as possible, so the WWP seeing competition to its gravy train want too shut him up, in the old days this action would call out a Vendetta

  3. Seriously I keep hearing Bill OReilly on his Fox program giving full support to WWP. He needs a reality check.

  4. Shame, shame on Wounded Warriors Project.

    BTW, you have really been putting up some great stuff the last few days. I need to stop in more often.


    1. Ya can’t blame Hannity nor O’Reilly whose hearts were in the right place since they promoted the organization and likely contributed mega $$$ to the fund………..

    2. O’Reilly nor Hannity have not donated one red cent to WWP. Hannity makes $5 million/yr but donates only $22,000 to where. Don’t believe a word those two say. They lie all day long. Both of them will say ANYTHING as long as someone like WWP is paying them – a lot. O’Reilly never wrote a single word in “his” books. Another sham. Stay away from these two yo-yos and Fox, too. They ain’t you’re friends.

    3. You’re Crazy, O’Reilly was a history teacher. You can’t tell me he doesn’t know what he is talking about. I don’t always agree with him, but that doesn’t make him stupid.

  5. Mr. Graham should avail himself of a good resource on how to read IRS Form 990, such as the one from the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York (

    For Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), the information in Form 990 has been audited by an independent firm of CPAs. The audited financial statements of WWP are available on its website.

    If Mr. Graham understood Form 990, he would find that according to the 2011 Form 900 for the WWP, 73% of its expenses were for program activities to provide vital programs and services to severely wounded service members, i.e., the activities forming its basis for exemption from tax. It was not “pennies on the dollar” as Mr. Graham stated. The balance of the expenses for WWP were for 6% for management and general administrative, and 21% for fund raising.

    What do watchdog groups say should be spent on program activity? The BBB Wise Giving Alliance recommends that nonprofits spend at least 65% of its annual expenses on program activity, while the American Institute of Philanthropy sets its minimum standard at 60% of expenses. The WWP exceeds both of these recommendations by spending 73% on program activity.

    Because WWP provides services directly to veterans, it is not necessary for WWP to make grants to other organizations to provide services. This is why the grants given to other organizations by WWP totaled only $5.5 million dollars.

    Of the $21 million in salaries, 85% (nearly $18 million) was for program activities such as combat stress recovery, physical health & rehabilitation, family support services, and Warriors to Work, among others, that WWP provides. How does WWP set the compensation of its Mr. Nardizzi, the CEO/Executive Director? An independent compensation consultant makes a recommendation to the Board of Directors based on a compensation study and what comparable organizations pay.

    I have reviewed the IRS Form 990 of nonprofits for 40 years. Based on my review of WWP, it is an outstanding organization.

  6. Mr. Fields,

    Tell us about joint cost allocation, if you would be so kind…

    “The balance of the expenses for WWP were for 6% for management and general administrative, and 21% for fund raising.”

    $21M in salaries on 150M raised is a whole lot more than 6%, sir. But then again, I went to public schools, so maybe my math is wrong. My public school math says it’s 14%, not 6%. Then again, I’m not using joint-cost allocation to “cook” the books.

    And we won’t even get into the utterly useless logowear that’s delivered by the truckload to rehab centers. It’s almost as if WWP wants the vets to do free advertising for them.


    1. Thank you for your question, John.

      On Page 1 of WWP’s Form 990, the expenses reported on lines 13-19 are a summary; this summary does not tell you what portion of these expenses are for each of the three expense categories of program activities, management & general, and fund raising. However, if you go to Page 10, the same expenses as on Page 1 are presented, but in greater detail and by category. For example, on Page 10, the $21 million total for salaries is the sum of lines 5-10 in the Column A. Column B shows that $18 million in salaries was for program activities, $1.4 million in salaries was for management, and $1.8 million in salaries was for fund raising.

      It is on Page 10, Line 25, that you can see that WWP spent $95.5 million dollars in total, of which $69.6 million (73%) was for program activities, $5.4 million (6%) was for management & general, and $20.5 million (21%) was for fund raising.

      Staying on Page 10, on line 26 is the total for joint costs included in lines 1-25. As making this allocation below Line 25 (total expenses) suggests, the amounts reported on Line 26 are not additional expenses but are expenses that have already been reported in lines above Line 26. For WWP, joint costs were $25 million. Joint costs represent expenses that have both a program activity component and a fund raising component. Suppose, for example, WWP prepared a 10-page educational brochure that explained the services that servicemen need; the expense to produce the brochure would be a program activity. However, if on the last page of the brochure WWP asked for a donation, a portion of the expense would have to be classified as fund raising. Any time a donation is solicited in educational materials, the accounting rules that WWP must follow state that a portion of the expense must be classified as fundraising. If WWP’s method of allocating these expenses was unreasonable, the CPA firm that audits WWP’s financial information would not sign off on the method.

      If you look at the audited financial statements for WWP (, even more information is available about each of WWP’s program activities.


  7. a friend of mine mailed $400 ro WWP and received a letter and receipt back from a different organization thankinghim for the donation —he looked it up on the internet and the organization sponsors camps for children —WWP sends donations to different organizations that don’t even specialize in soldiers! He was upset because he wanted to help wounded soldiers!

  8. Thank You so much for publishing the truth. I did indeed shutdown Help Indiana Vets because my first amendment rights have been squashed by Wounded Warrior Project. Even though I closed Help Indiana Vets they are still pursuing me personally. We would love to hear from supporters at as further witnesses for the upcoming trial. You can also search the southern district of Indiana for my answer to their frivolous lawsuit. Their 990 is their downfall not my comments about it. You can analyze the 990 without being an accountant.

  9. I say let all the proud supporters of WWP know that their donation dollars are spent on suing people instead of helping warriors!

  10. Mr. Fields, the issue is not what percentage of expenses they spend on vets. THE ISSUE IS WHAT PERCENTAGE OF DONATIONS IS BEING SPENT ON VETS. The 990 shows the massive acquisition of cash and assets that have been funneled off of donations. WWP is a for profit business and I for one cannot believe that the IRS hasn’t taken note.
    On another note WWP gave 100k to national VFW last year which is a drop in the bucket compared to 100 million. If WWP wants me to sanction their mission how about 25 million for VFW, American Legion, and DAV. Give it to organizations that have a long history of effectively assisting veterans. That still leaves you with many millions. Your 990 is proof of your ability to run a very profitable company, now how about a little corporate social responsibility.

  11. Rip off, do you know how much the government pays our vets? A lot of money, a whole lot of money. They are set for life. They know it too. Don’t fall for this scam it’s crazy stupid.

  12. @ Tammy Walter
    Just where did you come across your wonderfully incorrect information? Now if your idea of set for life means living at poverty levels than wow I am so grateful that I am set for life. Never mind that I can no longer do the wonderful things in life that indicate being set for life. Lets see can’t have children, ummm can’t throw a ball with my nephews. Can’t drive a vehicle, can’t buy my own groceries. Please accept my gratitude for the information that I like thousands of others are set for life. I personally am so thrilled that I took the time to get a Masters Degree and then serve this country so that I could afford to live in crack central and keep myself in ramen noodles and potted meat. I mean really Tammy my heart is so filled with joy now that you Tammy have pointed out just how cushy our lives as disable vets really are. Please people a round of applause for Tammy and her wonderful work of fiction.

  13. I don’t know one disabled vet from the Iraq or Afghanistan wars that has benefitted from the WWP. I don’t care what a piece of paper says about how good of a fundraising organization they are. The proof is in the community. All I see are tshirt and hats proclaiming them present.

  14. Well Trace Adkins just finished Rehab. He is the spokes-person for Wounded Warrior Commecials. He was making money off those commercials to pay for his Rehab.

    Sounds like a scam to me.

  15. Wow am I glad that I took the time to read all of your comments before committing a monthly check to help our veterans. Any suggestions on how and where I can help?

  16. I just spoke with a woman who had a very large check of hers cashed in the name of Alex—-one of people associated with WWP—-donations to organization being changed to personal checks for executives? Bank information theft?

Comments are closed.