A Las Vegas telemarketer’s fundraising network raised millions for PACs and charities, but spent little, if any, on their purported causes, according to an investigation published Thursday by a journalism nonprofit.
Among those who profited from the business operation was Las Vegas police officer William Pollock, according to the report from the Center for Public Integrity. The Metropolitan Police Department said Friday that it is aware of the allegations against the officer and is ”looking into the matter.”
Dating to 2006, Richard Zeitlin’s telemarketing companies have raised at least $121 million for nonprofits, according to the story, which was published in partnership with the Tampa Bay Times. His companies raised nearly another $32 million for political action committees.
Of the approximately $153 million raised, about $133 million was paid to the telemarketing companies.
Nonprofits and PACs generally can spend almost everything they earn on fundraising, but lying to donors about how their money will be used is illegal, according to the Center for Public Integrity story.
An attorney for Zeitlin told Public Integrity that fundraising for charities is “overhead intensive,” and that Zeitlin has raised a substantial amount of money for charities that would not have been raised otherwise.
Given the opportunity to comment Friday, Zeitlin responded: “At this moment, I can’t.” He then hung up before a reporter could ask why he was unable to comment.
Four super PACs that contract with Zeitlin’s firms are run by Metro Officer William Pollock and his wife, Kecia, according to the story.
William Pollock’s name appeared in the news in 2017 when he shot and killed a man armed with a butter knife. He was cleared of criminal wrongdoing but still faces a civil lawsuit in the 27-year-old’s death.
According to the Public Integrity’s investigation, Pollock solicited donations to benefit children with leukemia, firefighters and police officers. The Pollocks’ PACs had charity-like names, such as the Heart Disease Network of America.
PACs taking on names that sound like charities is a growing trend, the Center for Public Integrity wrote.
A website for the Children’s Leukemia Support Network says the group wants to educate the public that boys also get cancer, not just girls. It also pledges to “try to get the same support for leukemia as there is for just cancer.”
Between 2017 and 2019, the four PACs spent about $4 million. About $3.7 million of it went to Zeitlin’s companies, the Pollocks pocketed about $150,000, and most of what was left over was spent on overhead.
The Firefighters Alliance of America, another Pollock-run PAC, touted a mission to ensure the government passes laws to provide easier access to medical benefits to firefighters.
The PAC only supported former Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, who lost his election to Democrat Jacky Rosen last year. Two other Pollock PACs also supported only Heller, according to the report. Contributions to Heller accounted for less than 1 percent of the PACs’ overall spending. Heller could not be reached Friday for comment.
Reached by phone Friday, William Pollock declined to comment, then said whatever is included in the Review-Journal’s story is false.
He then called the Review-Journal reporter back.
“I am a cancer survivor and I am also struggling with heart disease,” Pollock said. He said the Center for Public Integrity left that fact out its the story, then hung up on the Review-Journal reporter before further questions could be asked.