Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Unsavory Link Between Lawmakers and Charities

by Gary Snyder

An article by The Center for Public Integrity speaks to a long-standing issue---the coziness of charities and elected officials. It is not a new problem, but one that that Nonprofit Imperative has addressed (herehere) for the better part of a decade. 

Kudos to the Center for Public Integrity for exposing a snippet of the issue. It is a much larger problem than that which was portrayed in the thoughtful article. The problem continues to be litigated but has not received the needed attention by most of the media and certainly not any attention from the leadership of sector itself.

In our recent study (of just those caught), we have found that almost 100 elected officials---from both parties---using questionable practices that abused a relationship with a charitable organization,. It adds up to an eye-popping $270,000,000. They amassed their benefits from the federal, state and local treasuries. Beneficiaries include:
·      wives and husbands
·      sons and daughters
·      fathers and mothers
·      brothers and sisters
·      sisters and sister-in-laws
·      grandchildren
·      nieces and nephews
·      lovers and girlfriends

Nonprofit Imperative gathers its information principally from public documents...some of which are directly quoted. Virtually all cited are in some phase of criminal proceedings; some have not been charged, however. Cites in various media: Featured in print, broadcast, and online media outlets, including: Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, B, USA Today Topics,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times...and many more Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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