FFRF contacted four separate Florida agencies on May 4, 2012, including the Department of Consumer Services, the Department of Revenue, and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, asking them to investigate what appeared to be a “scam in God’s name.”
The problem involves a Florida policy allowing drivers to purchase specialty license plates for an additional fee. That fee goes to the organization that develops the specialty plate to meet some charitable purpose. These plates feature universities, endangered species, sports teams and “god.” The “In God We Trust” license plates are supposed to “fund educational scholarships for the children of Florida residents who are members of the United States Armed Forces, the National Guard, and the United States Armed Forces Reserve.” But FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel that the “In God We Trust Foundation” had collected over $630,000 and distributed nothing to the children.
After being sent several follow-up letters, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles wrote FFRF on August 27: “Our department is aware of the alleged non-compliance regarding the distribution of funds from sales of the In God We Trust specialty license plate. As this is an on-going investigation we are not at liberty to divulge related information.” However, the Department did state that there was “an active investigation into the distribution of funds from sales of the In God We Trust license plate” and that “our department has not distributed any funds to the IGWT foundation… money collected from purchases of license plate is being withheld until [the] matter is resolved.” One less scam in the name of god.