MADD Money – What is MADD’s Mission These Days?

Once upon a time, Mothers Against Drunk Driving did a tremendous public service.

The organization’s television commercials, billboard campaigns, involvement in schools, and lobbying efforts changed not only the nation’s laws but also the social norms around drunk driving. All of this led to a significant reduction in the number of highway deaths.

But then, MADD faced a question that all successful movements must ask: “What do we do now?”

What is MADD’s Mission, Really?

MADD’s answer was to broaden its mission, and since then the group’s message has changed from “don’t drive drunk” to “don’t drink and drive.”

The organization now targets responsible social drinkers instead of the habitual drunk drivers who actually cause accidents and deaths, and this new mission does nothing to make the roads safer.

While much of the public still sees MADD as a responsible organization that advocates and lobbies to keep drunk drivers off the road, mission creep has resulted in the organization raking in millions of dollars each year, spending it ineffectively, and impliedly advocating for prohibition…

Founder Candy Lightner, who left the organization as its mission changed, summed it up like this: “It has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned. I didn’t start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving.”

So, What is MADD up to now that Every State has a .08 Limit?

As part of this “neo-prohibitionist” mission, MADD has lobbied for and supported measures that would strip DUI defendants of their basic constitutional rights. Some examples of MADD’s anti-alcohol zealotry include:

  • Support of laws that would take custody away from a parent who drives their children home safely after just one drink, regardless of whether they are impaired;
  • A change in the mission statement to include the prevention of underage drinking – not underage drunk driving, just drinking;
  • A push to lower the legal blood-alcohol level even after government agencies and safety experts say the move will not help;
  • Support of higher taxes on alcoholic beverages, despite no evidence that such taxes deter drunk driving; and
  • Support of police roadblocks intended to prevent people from drinking socially and in violation of basic constitutional rights.

MADD Money

MADD has also come under fire for how it raises and spends money.

In 2015, MADD brought in $34,360,525 in revenue, down from $40,244,112 in 2009, and held $21,860,962 in assets.

Great, right? MADD is getting mad donations and must be spending tens of millions of dollars each year on philanthropic efforts to save lives?

The American Institute of Philanthropy has more than once given MADD a grade of “D” in its annual charity evaluation report. While MADD claims that it spent more than 70 percent of the money it raised from donors on its mission, charity watchdogs have repeatedly criticized the group for spending the funds on travel, conventions, and… fundraising.

In 1994, Money magazine reported that telemarketers raised over $38 million for MADD, keeping nearly half of it in fees. In that same year, the group spent more than $2 million on travel and conventions. Compare that to MADD’s paltry lobbying budget (a four-year total of only $636,000 from 1991 to 1994), and it’s not hard to see why the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) consistently gives MADD poor grades for its high bureaucratic costs. Indeed, MADD funnels about 50 cents of every dollar back to its fund-raising efforts, which is about one and a half times what AIP considers acceptable.

DUI Defense Lawyer in Myrtle Beach

Daniel A. Selwa, II, is a criminal defense lawyer in Myrtle Beach, SC. We represent DUI clients at all levels of the SC courts including DUI 1st offense and DUAC 1st offense in magistrate or municipal court, DUI 2nd and greater or felony DUIs in general sessions court, and criminal appeals.

If you have been charged with DUI in Myrtle Beach, Conway SC, or the Horry County area, call me at (843) 492-5449 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.

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