ACLU Loses Major Donor, One-Fourth of Donations

Wednesday, Dec 9, 2009  |  Updated 7:30 PM EDT
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ACLU Loses Major Donor, One-Fourth of Donations

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WASHINGTON - APRIL 12: American Civil Liberties Union Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro speaks April 12, 2004 during a news conference on Guantanamo detainees at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear three arguments later in April which address the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens designated as enemy combatants and of non-citizens at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba. The cases raise fundamental questions about the role of the courts in preserving civil liberties during times of national crisis. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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The American Civil Liberties Union is losing a quarter of its yearly donations now that a major donor has cut off $19 million in annual donations because of economic difficulties.

     David Gelbaum said in a statement that he was indefinitely stopping the donations that had made him the New York-based group's largest anonymous donor. He's also stopping some $12 million in yearly gifts to the Sierra Club Foundation and about $50 million a year that he's been giving to an organization serving veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    
Gelbaum says the credit crisis and his investments in alternative, clean energy companies have left him with few liquid assets.
    
Gelbaum says he hopes others will step forward and replace his donations.

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