September 8, 2010; Source: New York Times | NPQ has been hammering away at the often-found links between charity and politicians for some time, so we are glad to see the New York Times, which has also done a good amount of reporting on the subject, come out with a strongly worded opinion on the practice—calling for better regulations for full disclosure.
Currently in place is a system that depends on congressional lobbyists to disclose contributions to lawmakers’ charities, but apparently many fail to do so. Charities themselves are not required to disclose, of course, and an attempt last year by the Office of Congressional Ethics to examine a few cases “was stymied when the House granted several congressmen the right to solicit donations even when the donors had business before their committees.”
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As the editorial states, “While both donors and recipients claim that the millions of dollars pouring into these foundations are good for communities, the real purpose is to make lawmakers look good while skirting limits on campaign contributions and open another door to Washington’s pay-to-play culture.”—Ruth McCambridge