Friday, August 2, 2013

Secrecy In Charities and Congress

by Gary Snyder

I have written extensively about the silence of charity leadership that wants to deny the existence of charity fraud that is so endemic to philanthropy. It is a secret that no one wants to talk about.

Now the Congress wants to take a same tactic
by keeping actions hidden from the public’s sight. Here's the way it works:

Senators..."are working on the first rewrite of the tax code since 1986. Instead of revising the existing tax law, they’re taking what they call a “blank slate” approach. They proposed sweeping away the tax code’s thousands of loopholes, then asked their colleagues to submit written requests for the deductions they want put back in, assuring them that the requests would be kept private.

The response: silence. Senators didn’t want word to leak that they’d supported special tax breaks.

It’s easy to see why. Many of the loopholes that have crept into the law—for oil companies, private equity managers, Hollywood—are hard to defend. There’s no way to pretend they help kids, or create jobs. They just go to people and corporations that donate money. So to get lawmakers to hand over their wish lists without fear of reprisals from voters, lobbyists, and other senators, the committee’s staff has come up with a novel way to let senators do their donors’ bidding in secret. In a July 19 memo obtained by Bloomberg BNA, the committee assured senators that their loophole requests will be locked up—physically locked up—for 50 years.

Assured that their wish lists will be buried, more than 60 senators have now submitted tax proposals to Senators Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch, according to Sean Neary, a committee spokesman, who says committee staff has received more than 1,000 pages of secret suggestions. “I think it was just a good offer to get people to open up more,” says Hatch. “I’ve had a lot of people open up.” 

Only in the U.S. Senate would hiding information the public has every right to know be considered “opening up.” Then again, any senator with an idea so potentially damaging to his reputation that it has to be locked away probably wasn’t working for voters anyway."

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: Charity Navigator, Vermont Public Radio, Miami Herald, National Public Radio (NPR), Huffington Post, The Sun News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wall Street Journal (Profile, News and Photos), “Betrayal”, (a movie), NBC (on Charity Fraud…TBD), FOX2, ABC Spotlight on the News, WWJ Radio, Marie Claire, Ethics World, Aspen Philanthropy Newsletter, Harvard Business Review, Current Affairs, Charity Navigator, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, St. Petersburg Times, Board Room Insider, USA Today Topics, Accountants News,, Responsive Philanthropy Magazine, New York Times, Portfolio Magazine, The Virgin Islands Daily News, NANKAI (China) BUSINESS REVIEW, National Religious Broadcasters newsletter, The Charity Governance Blog, American Chronicle, Palm Beach Post, Detroit Free Press, Oakland Press, Nonprofit World, Socially Responsible Business Forum, PNNOnline, Ohio Nonprofit Resources, Nonprofit Good Practice Guide, Nonprofit Startup Guide, Nonprofit Blog, National Coalition of Homeless Newsletter, Finance and Administration Roundtable Newsletter,, CORP! Magazine, Crain’s Michigan Nonprofit,, PhilanTopic, Nashville Free Press, Nonprofit Law Blog, Seniors World Chronicle, Carnegie Reporter, Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners Examiner,, Worchester (MA) Telegram and Gazette, Carnegie Corporation of America, EO Tax Journal, Wikipedia: Non-profit Organizations; Parent: Wise Austin, Accountants News, Veterans Today,, Far-roundtable, #Nonprofit Report, nonprofithelpnews, nonprofit news; National Enquirer, Northwest Herald, The HelpWise Daily, The #Nonprofit Report, Wikipedia (Nonprofit Organization),, Nonprofits: On the Brink (2006) Silence: The Impending Threat to the Charitable Sector (2011)
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