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Non-profits/charities wrongfully donate to political campaigns in New York

(excerpt from) The New York Times
Charities Give to Campaigns, Despite Law

By DANNY HAKIM and JEREMY W. PETERS /March 17, 2009

ALBANY — For more than half a century, charities have been barred by federal law from making contributions to political campaigns.

But the news does not seem to have reached Albany.

A review of campaign-finance and federal tax records shows that at least 81 tax-exempt charities have given contributions to legislative candidates since 2005, with some organizations giving more than once to multiple candidates. While the amounts were not eye-popping, the contributions often flowed to lawmakers who helped the charities secure state money.

The donations — by museums, churches, hospitals, even children’s baseball leagues and soccer clubs — underscore the lack of oversight of lawmakers’ fund-raising practices in the state.

The State Board of Elections said it did not have the jurisdiction to screen contributions by nonprofit groups, calling it a matter for the Internal Revenue Service. “There’s nothing we can say or do about it,” said Robert Brehm, a spokesman for the board.

The I.R.S. would not comment on the activities of specific charities. Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s office oversees charities on the state level, and a spokesman said the office can take action when there is evidence of systemic abuse of charitable money.

Federal law prohibits nonprofits classified as 501 (c) 3 organizations from making political donations or participating in campaigns. Those that do risk losing their tax-exempt status.

Read the rest of the story at the NY Times: here.

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for putting this article up!! I did some quick searches in my own state (VA) and found that churches here are doing the same thing.

    • Glad you appreciated it.

      Yup. Years ago in our hometown of Babylon, an activist noticed a whole bunch of transfers among political campaigns and groups like the Boy Scouts. It is sickening how the non-profit world kisses up to politicians. But, they do so illegally all the time, too. Weird that people don’t realize, study their by-laws, or concern themselves with the law on the matter. And, weird that politicians would put non-profits in jeopardy like that.

      In a separate matter, the same activist here, noted that many people allowed themselves to be photographed with politicians while wearing caps such as the veterans club caps. That is not illegal, but something that violates the by-laws of most of those groups.

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