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Published:January 29th, 2008 08:21 EST
Job Finished, Rewards for Justice Fund Stands Down

Job Finished, Rewards for Justice Fund Stands Down

By SOP newswire

Washington, D.C. -- With the payment of a five million dollar reward by the federal government’s Rewards for Justice Program --- an award consisting in part of funds donated to the Program by the Rewards for Justice Fund -- the non-profit organization’s founders declared its work complete and announced the Fund’s closure.

“We’ve accomplished what we set out to do when we first created the Fund more than six years ago,” said Scott Case, who along with Joseph Rutledge co-founded the organization shortly after the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001. “At a time when many Americans wanted to help stop terrorism, the Fund provided a constructive new way to channel that interest, and in the process we raised and donated more than one and a half million dollars to one of America's most effective forces in the war on terror, The Rewards For Justice Program.”

Said Rutledge, “Few Americans can beat plowshares into swords anymore, but the Fund allowed thousands of motorists to turn their license plates into powerful weapons in the war on terrorism.”

The Rewards for Justice Fund was founded by Case and Rutledge shortly after the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, as a way to provide every American with a way to help bring terrorists to justice.
All of the dollars raised by the Fund have been provided to the federal government’s Rewards for Justice Program, a multi-agency program that uses reward payments to encourage those with knowledge of terrorist activities or locations to reveal what they know. Since its founding in the early 1980’s, the Rewards for Justice Program has been instrumental in helping apprehend terrorists both in the United States and abroad, and is credited with preventing a wide array of terrorist acts. The Program played a key role in the apprehension of Ramzi Yousef, who is now behind bars for his role in the 1991 bombing of the World Trade Center.

When the Rewards for Justice Fund was first created, it raised donations from generous Americans who shared its desire to help America’s anti-terrorist agents prevent terrorist acts and bring wrong-doers to justice. In the months following its launch, however, the Fund shifted its fundraising focus by working with state legislatures to enact legislation authorizing the creation of new, “United We Stand” specialty license plates.

Responding to the Fund’s grass roots lobbying activities, governors and legislators in six states agreed to do so. As a result, since 2002 “United We Stand” license plates have been available in Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Virginia and Connecticut (Case and Rutledge’s home state, and home to the Rewards for Justice Fund).

Motorists who buy “United We Stand” license plates in these states pay an additional specialty license plate fee, above and beyond the customary fees charged to acquire a conventional license plate. Under the legislation authorizing the plates’ creation, all or a portion of that additional specialty license plate fee is then distributed to the Rewards for Justice Fund. One hundred percent of those funds have been or will be provided to the State Department, to supplement the federal dollars used by the Rewards for Justice Program in its “rewards for terrorist information” activities around the globe.

(The Fund’s administrative expenses were privately funded by a small number of “friends and family” donors, so that all of the fund raised from members of the public could be donated to the Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program).

Although the Fund will no longer be active, it is expected that some or all of the states currently offering “United We Stand” license plates may continue to do so. Disposition of specialty license plate fees that would have previously gone to the Rewards for Justice Fund will be up to each state’s department of motor vehicles. Some may continue to donate funds to the Rewards for Justice Program. Others may use those earnings to help fund airport security programs, offset other expenses associated with terrorist protection or fund other operations.
Rutledge, 53, and Case, 37, are both Connecticut residents who are active in various charitable and private sector undertakings. They, along with the Fund’s executive director, Art Shulman, were honored by the Rewards for Justice Program at a Department of State ceremony held in Washington, D.C. on January 24th.
The Rewards for Justice Fund is a non-governmental, non-profit 501 (c) (3) charitable organization whose sole affiliation with the U.S. Department of State's Rewards for Justice Program is for the purpose of raising and providing private contributions for its use in the identification and apprehension of terrorists operating within the United States and abroad.
 
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