Prosecuting Bad Actors Posing as Do-Gooders is Well Worth the Cost

bad-actors-masks

Tragedy and Comedy / Tim Green

January 4, 2017; Denver Post

Over the past year, NPQ has published quite a bit about the spotty nature of charity enforcement across the United States. Some states have longstanding, well-developed charity offices that acknowledge the importance of the sector by taking its few bad actors seriously as a threat to the integrity and funding of the sector as a whole. But, most still do not dedicate resources in a targeted way. We hope this will change, and that charity officers will form a national network with some shared resources and prosecutions.

The Denver Post published an editorial two days ago supporting the Colorado attorney general’s request for funding for a small office dedicated to overseeing the state’s nonprofit sector. The editorial pointed out that regulatory oversight of the sector is wanting on the national level and referenced a landmark report on the matter released last year by the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project at Columbia Law School and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy.

The Internal Revenue Service is wholly ill-equipped to serve as anything other than a warehouse for nonprofit annual tax forms known as 990s.

Both the Clinton Foundation and the Donald J. Trump Foundation escaped scrutiny until the leaders of both clashed in a political showdown. In case you missed it, both foundations proved to be lacking integrity in their own unique ways, unless you think self-portraits and a luxury hotel in Haiti are money well spent. New York’s attorney general remains on the Trump investigation.

The editorial continued, “This all makes the case for Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s request for an additional $350,000 a year to beef up the state’s nonprofit investigations unit.”

And, concluding that the issue is of bipartisan interest, the Post quips, “We believe Coffman when she says she needs more resources to pursue the bad-actors who pretend to be do-gooders. After all, she’s a Republican who just proposed to grow the size of government—something must be amiss.”—Ruth McCambridge