Friday, March 30, 2012

Exercise Caution when Reading about Recent Ruling on King Street Patriots

One might say that there is some kind of political battle "brewing" in Texas, one involving the Texas Democratic Party and a nonprofit organization known as King Street Patriots, Inc., described in the media as a Tea Party group.  As if this dispute needs any more drama, it appears that the press coverage of a recent ruling in the litigation reflects more than a little misunderstanding of the nature of the ruling.
Here is what the Houston Chronicle says, in the opening two sentences of its story, Judge Rules Tea Party Group a PAC, not a Nonprofit:

A Travis County district court judge ruled this week that a Houston-based tea party group is not a nonprofit corporation as it claims, but an unregistered political action committee that illegally aided the Republican Party through its poll-watching efforts during the 2010 elections.

The summary judgment by Judge John Dietz upheld several Texas campaign finance laws that had been challenged on constitutional grounds by King Street Patriots, a tea party organization known for its "True the Vote" effort to uncover voter fraud.

The article also quotes an attorney for the Texas Democratic Party as saying that “the court's ruling meant the King Street Patriots would be ordered to reveal its political activities and to pay the plaintiffs' economic damages equal to twice the amount of the Patriots' expenditures and contributions.”

The puzzler is that, to the best of my knowledge, the ruling does no such thing.  I have read it.  The first sentence in the story in the Chronicle is unsupported by the summary judgment declarations.  (At least the story's second sentence excerpted above correctly reports the essence of the judge's declarations.)

The declarations made by the judge, which uphold the constitutionality of several provisions of the Texas Election Code, do not reach the merits of the underlying causes of action raised against King Street.  What’s more, I would expect those merits not to be addressed as long as the constitutional issues are litigated through the appeals process.  I further expect a lengthy appeals process. 

What should one make of this report?  For now, all I will say is, it looks like someone has prematurely crashed a tea party!


March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Latest EO Update

The Internal Revenue Service has issued its most recent EO update, available here.  The Table of Contents consists of the following:

1. Reporting Partnership Interests using Form 1065/Schedule K-1 Optional for Tax Year 2011
2. IRS Releases FY 2011 Data Book
3. IRS Revises Publication 1771
4. IRS Issues Final Regulations on Public Inspection of EO Material
5. Register for Upcoming Workshops for Small and Medium-sized 501(c)(3)s
6. YouTube: Work Opportunity Tax Credit
7. Deducting Charitable Contributions: Eight Essentials


March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stanford Law Dean Larry Kramer to Head Hewlett Foundation

Larry Kramer, dean of the Stanford Law School, will be leaving SLS to serve as president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation on Sept. 1. Dean Kramer championed interdisciplinary study by students, and under his administration SLS expanded research institutes and programs and encouraged broad participation by students in clinical programs.  The charity that Dean Kramer will soon lead is reported to have investments exceeding $7 billion.  The full story is here.


March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Modirzadeh, Lewis and Bruderlein on Humanitarian Engagement Under Counter-Terrorism

Naz K. Modirzadeh, Dustin A. Lewis, and Claude Bruderlein, all with Harvard University’s Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research, have posted an abstract of their paper, Humanitarian Engagement Under Counter-Terrorism: A Conflict of Norms and the Emerging Policy Landscape, on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This article identifies two countervailing sets of norms – one promoting humanitarian engagement with non-state armed groups (NSAGs) in armed conflict in order to protect populations in need, and the other prohibiting such engagement with listed “terrorist” groups in order to protect security – and discusses how this conflict of norms might affect the capacity of humanitarian organizations to deliver life-saving assistance in areas under the control of one of these groups. Rooted in international humanitarian law (IHL), the first set of norms provides a basis for humanitarian engagement with NSAGs in non-international armed conflict for the purpose of assisting populations under their control and promoting compliance with the rules of IHL. The second set of rules attempts to curtail financial and other forms of material support, including technical training and co-ordination, to listed “terrorist” organizations, some of which may qualify as NSAGs under IHL. The article highlights counter-terrorism regulations developed by the United States and the United Nations Security Council, though other states and multilateral bodies have similar regulations. The article concludes by sketching ways in which humanitarian organizations might respond to the identified tensions.


March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Impact of Striking Down Individual Mandate and Other Provisions of Affordable Care Act on Hospitals

In Hospitals Fear Loss of Insurance Payments if Coverage Mandate Is Struck Down, the Chicago Tribune reports that many hospitals, including nonprofits, have already begun to make numerous changes in anticipation of full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (the “Act”).   Some healthcare industry participants reportedly have viewed the individual mandate as a helpful method for increasing the pool of future patients who will be able to pay for hospital services.  If the United States Supreme Court holds the individual mandate unconstitutional and strikes only that portion of the Act, some observers fear that Congress will nonetheless implement cuts to reimbursements under Medicaid and Medicare programs, with the result that hospitals will be forced to raise charges imposed on others.  What if the Court invalidates the law in its entirety?  One nonprofit hospital executive is quoted as follows:

Paula M. Noble, chief financial officer at Children's Memorial Hospital in Lincoln Park, said the hospital is concerned that if the court strikes the law in its entirety, some of the hospital's patients would lose benefits that have already been implemented. Specifically, she fears that they would lose their private insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions or if they exceed lifetime caps on coverage.  Instead, she said, those patients would be forced to rely on Medicaid, a chronically underfunded program that is facing "devastating cuts."

"This would create further challenges for Children's Memorial, other hospitals and the state of Illinois," she said.

But all may not be lost.   The article also quotes Mark Newton, president and chief executive officer of Swedish Covenant Hospital, who states that the Act helped motivate hospitals to enhance efficiency by coordinating patient care and automating health care records.  Says Newton,

"Even if (the court) throws the whole thing out, there are some residual positives that came out of this, and, if nothing else, it gives Congress a chance to go back and really look at what's working and what's not."

The latter point is important.  Whatever decision the Supreme Court reaches on the constitutionality of the Act (in whole or in part), meaningful health care reform can still occur if this country musters the political will to accomplish it.

March 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Charities Benefit from Settlement over Astor Estate

The New York Times reports that a settlement over the distribution of the estate of Brooke Astor has been reached and ratified by the Westchester County Surrogate Court.  Under the settlement, negotiated in part by New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, Mrs. Astor’s  son reportedly will receive about one-half of the amount to which he would have been entitled under a will (as later amended) that was contested on the grounds of the late Mrs. Astor’s absence of mental capacity.  The settlement controls the disposition of Mrs. Astor’s estate, reported at approximately $100 million.  The story reports that $30 million will be used to create a Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education, and millions more will be transferred to Prospect Park, Central Park, city playgrounds and several cultural institutions.

This is big news for the New York AG, as indicated by the posting of a story about the settlement on the AG’s website.


March 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Association of Tax-Exempt Schools Fails Exemption on Grounds of Providing Commercial-Type Insurance

Tax Notes Today reports that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has just handed down Florida Independent Colleges and Universities Risk Management Association, Inc. v. United States, which holds that an association of secondary schools and universities is not entitled to federal income tax exemption because it “provides commercial-type insurance" within the meaning of section 501(m)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code.  The association purchases group insurance policies for the benefit of its member institutions and self-insures a certain amount of risk.  Relying on Paratransit Insurance Corp. v. Commissioner, 102 T.C. 745 (1994), the court reasoned as follows, in relevant part:

The Court cannot imagine a factual scenario much more similar to Paratransit as the one at issue in this case. [The association], like Paratransit, is a risk pool comprised of section 501(c)(3) exempt organizations that all provide a common service. Both self-insure a baseline amount of risk and purchase reinsurance for excess risk. Both determine member contributions on the basis of each member's unique risk profile. And the arguments made by the non-profit in Paratransit and [the association] here are nearly identical. [The association] does not even try to distinguish Paratransit, merely noting that [it] raises an additional constitutional argument that Paratransit did not. If Paratransit was unable to obtain tax-exempt status, then [the association] must be similarly precluded.

Further finding that the association failed to meet the terms of Code section 501(n), which effectively trumps the exemption-negating effect of section 501(m) in the case of organizations described in Code section 501(n), and rejecting the association's constitutional argument, the court concluded that the association fails to qualify as a tax-exempt organization described in Code section 501(c)(3).

The opinion is available at 2012 TNT 60-16.


March 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ARNOVA Call for Presentations

The Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Volunteer Action (ARNOVA) has issued a call for proposals for presentations, panels, and colloquia for its annual conference on November 15 - 17, 2012, in Indianapolis.  The title is RE-EXAMINING PHILANTHROPY: EXPLORING ROOT CONCEPTS FOR OUR FIELD(S).  The full program description is here.  By way of illustrating presentations appropriate for the Public Policy & Law track, the announcement states that presentations can explore the changing roles of and relationships between governments, NGOs and the voluntary sector at all levels – local and state as well as national and international – and a broad spectrum of legal or policy issues for nonprofits.  The deadline for submissions is 2:00 a.m. (EDT) April 4.  Inquiries may be directed to Robert A. Katz at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law by emailing him at


March 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Illinois Hospitals Feeling Crunch from Law and Possible Loss of Funds

In Medicaid Cuts, Property Tax Battle a Stress Test for Many Hospitals, the Chicago Tribune reports that the combination of proposed cuts to the state's Medicaid program and the possibility that some hospitals may lose property tax exemptions for failure to provide sufficient charity care under state law “has Illinois hospitals on their heels.”  Children's Memorial Hospital, for example, is said to be facing a $37 million to $50 million budget deficit. 

The story explains that the Illinois General Assembly is considering Governor Pat Quinn's plan to reduce the state’s $14 billion Medicaid program by as much as $2.7 billion this coming fiscal year.  One proposal is to cut 6 to 9 percent of the amount that the state reimburses hospitals and other health care providers for Medicaid patients.  This comes at a time when, as previously blogged (see, e.g., this entry), Illinois is requiring hospitals to provide more charity care in order to claim property tax exemptions.  The story explains how the two issues are linked financially and legally, as illustrated in the case of Children's Memorial Hospital:

Children's Memorial doled out $1.2 million in charity care in 2011, as measured by the state. That represents a tiny fraction of its total patient revenue.

The hospital says it has little opportunity to provide free care because nearly all children in Illinois are eligible for Medicaid, a joint federal-state program whose payments don't cover the cost of services. The state's definition of charity care does not include losses incurred from Medicaid, which comprises more than half of the hospital's revenue.

That, in turn, could make it harder for Children's to qualify for a property tax exemption.

"What we're trying to do is make certain everyone understands this isn't apples and oranges when you compare us to (other Illinois hospitals)," [hospital CEO Patrick] Magoon said. "This is like apples and giraffes. We're totally different than anyone else because of who we serve, how the patients are financed and because everyone else feeds those children to us."

Magoon, along with other hospital executives, argues that hospitals should get credit for the losses they incur to provide services to Medicaid patients, as well as money spent on community outreach, research and other activities that he believes advance public health.

The article reports that the region's safety-net hospitals operating in impoverished communities are also concerned.  Although few of them are thought to risk losing their property tax exemptions, some apparently might have to close their doors if the legislature carries through with the proposed Medicaid cuts.


March 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A “Charitable Fine” in Politics – Not What You Might Think

The place of charities in the political process seems to be a perennial – or at least biennial – topic of conversation.  Right now, charities are serving an unusual role in the Massachusetts race for United States Senate – and the candidates’ efforts to democratize the election as much as possible.  In Brown to Pay Fine after Group Violates Ad Pact, it is reported that Senator Scott Brown will pay a “charitable fine” after the campaign of Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren objected to political advertisements funded not by the Brown campaign but by the American Petroleum Institute.  The ads reportedly encouraged people to call Brown's office to urge him to oppose increased federal taxation of energy companies (legislation to which Brown is already opposed).  What has this to do with charity?  As the story recounts, Warren and Brown signed an agreement in January that requires the candidates to notify outsiders that they do not desire advertising on their behalf in certain public media; if such advertising occurs, the candidate promoted by the ad must donate one-half of the value of the advertisement to a charity chosen by the opponent.  Says the story, quoting a Brown campaign spokesman,

“Scott Brown is committed to honoring this historic agreement and for that reason his campaign will donate to charity the sums called for in the pledge as a result of the American Petroleum Institute's ad campaign ….''

The story further reports that this “charitable fine” is the second that the Brown campaign has agreed to pay.


March 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 26, 2012

More Interest in PILOTS

Another revenue-pinched city is exploring the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) option for raising funds from charities with property exempt from taxation, according to Lowell Seeks Annual Fees from Nonprofits to Pay for Services.  The story explains that the Lowell City Council has crafted a plan under which at least some tax-exempt entities that own property would be charged a PILOT of 25 percent of the equivalent residential property tax assessment.  Religious institutions and government entities would be exempt from the PILOT.   City Manager Bernard Lynch is reported to estimate that Lowell would receive an additional $500,000 to $1 million in annual revenue from the plan – revenue that is all the more critical because of reductions in state and federal aid.  Current efforts to receive voluntary PILOTS are reported to yield only approximately $25,000 annually. 


March 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Donors to Boston City Charity Disclosed

Donors to politically active organizations described in Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(4) apparently are not the only ones whose identities are being sought these days.   In Menino Discloses Donors to Boston-Run Charity, the Boston Globe reports that Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino has released a list of donors and an accounting of expenditures of a charity controlled by the City of Boston that has accepted money from many conducting city business.  Established by a former mayor, the fund reportedly has been used to fund concerts, parades, and other neighborhood events.  Watchdog groups have called for heightened transparency of the fund’s operations:

 “This is an area that cries out for full transparency,’’ said Pamela Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, a government watchdog. “All donors should be disclosed. This is an entity that is controlled by the city, and by having secret donors, there is a potential for using a contribution as a way of gaining access and influence.’’

Mayor Menino’s administration, reports the story, rejects the notion that donations to the charity could influence government action on city contracts or development projects because of strict state procurement and bidding laws.  However, it does appear that the scrutiny of the charity has prompted a few changes.  The article observes that the fund itself  “will no longer collect payments for events and promotions on City Hall Plaza and other public property,” and that, for the first time, rates for using City Hall Plaza will be uniformly set in advance, rather than privately negotiated.


March 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Komen: And another one falls...

It's sort of like watching a train wreck in slow motion, isn't it?   According to the Washington Post, the Board chair for the Komen Foundation has now stepped down (although he has not resigned from the Board.)  The article goes on to state, "[t]o replace Leffall as chairman, Komen brought back founding board member Robert Taylor, 83, from retirement. Taylor is a close friend of Komen founder and chief executive Nancy Brinker. Taylor retired in 2010 after nearly 30 years on the board."   Successful succession planning is a hallmark of good nonprofit governance.  From the outside looking in, this change does not look great - clearly, things are not happy at Komen. 

March 23, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Everything Must Go!

Who knew that local governments were in the business of museum acquisitions?  Not necessarily a great idea, if Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's experience is any evidence.  According to this article, in an effort to boost tourism, a prior mayor planned to open a variety of new museums: Civil War, sports history, African-American history and the Wild West. Apparently, the Civil War museum did become operational; the rest of the museums never got off the drawing board. It isn't all that odd for a city to be involved in a public-private partnership to enhance and grow local cultural institutions, but the description from the article seems to have the government really driving the creation of these museums.

Odder still (or maybe evidence of the fact that this project really was government driven), the City actually started acquiring art and artifacts before the museums were open. According to the article, "[w]hen current Mayor Linda Thompson took office in 2010, she inherited about 8,000 historical artifacts stored in two separate warehouses." At least the City was behaving like many of the start-up nonprofits with which I've worked - lots of good intentions, not a lot of money, even less organization.

Finding itself under severe budget pressure for a variety of reasons, Harrisburg is now auctioning off all this stuff.  So if you are an actual museum ... not just a theoretical one... there are deals to be had!

March 23, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Target: Charitable Deduction?

Yesterday, Representative Paul Ryan presented the House Republican’s budget proposal for FY 2013. Of note for charities, the tax section of the Ryan budget proposal places great emphasis on expanding the tax base bygetting rid of distortions, loopholes and preferences that divert economic resources from their most efficient uses,” noting that “these tax preferences are disproportionately used by upper-income individuals…”. It, however, gives no details regarding which specific "distortions, loopholes and preferences” that might encompass – including, for example, the charitable deduction available only to Schedule A filers.

As this blog discussed in February, a proposal to limit the charitable deduction for upper income taxpayers has been part of the Obama administration’s budget in the past, much to the great consternation of the charitable community. The burning question is whether the Ryan proposal's general tax discussion hints on actual common ground between the Administration and House Republicans on this issue? I’m jaded enough to think the answer is no … it may be that the charitable community will benefit in this instance from the fact that common ground doesn’t appear to exist anywhere in D.C. these days.


March 21, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

And the Fallout Continues...

Apparently, Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure is losing two more executives (see gossipy link here). Wherever one might stand on the underlying issue, it's pretty clear that Komen has made an utter hash of the PR and donor relations part of all of it. Hopefully, somewhere there is a business school/public policy professor or student that is using this as a case study on how not to handle difficulty policy issues.


March 21, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Phenomenon That Is Kony 2012

My daughter came home from school wanting to raise money for it. Volunteers braved the crowded streets of Chicago on St. Patrick's Day to support it. News sites and blogs are abuzz with it. No matter where I go, it seems that the Kony 2012 is there.

For those of you who have been somehow managed to miss it (how?), here is the short film on YouTube about African warlord Joseph Kony's abuse of children as part of his rebel force in Uganda that went viral. Twitter and Facebook soon followed, and the video sparked online activism overnight, especially among younger viewers (see, for example, this CNN piece.) Next thing you know, Rihanna is tweeting racy pictures of herself to raise awareness for the cause (sorry, no link).

Almost immediately thereafter, questions began to arise. The video was produced by the San Diego-based nonprofit Invisible Children. News organizations noted issues with its BBB Wise Giving Alliance rating and its 3 out of 4 rating by Charity Navigator. No doubt that Guidestar was flooded with requests for IC's Forms 990s (free subscription required). IC posted its official response to these and other criticisms on its website. Given the rapid rise of the video, I suppose it was inevitable that an ignominious fall would follow. Jason Russell, the director of Kony 2012 and a co-founder of IC, was found drunk, indecent, and essentially having a breakdown in the middle of a street in San Diego. His family blamed the stress from the intense media scrutiny of the film, the organization, and the director himself.

While the final chapter of the story of IC is yet to be written, I do think that the Kony 2012 phenomenon presents a teachable moment about the need for and limits of disclosure in a system that depends upon private philanthropy. If anyone doubted it before, the power of social media to further social movements is evident in the Arab Spring, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and now Kony 2012. It's cheap, it's ubiquitous, and most of all, it's fast, that it is easy for the message to get ahead of the organization. Add to the mix the fact that social media users tend to skew younger, and you end up with my daughter and her friends wanting to hold a bake sale to help the poor kids in Uganda. On the one hand, this is a noble sentiment and one I don't want to suppress; on the other hand, trying to explain Form 990 disclosures to an 11 year old is... well, let's just say it's not a productive use of time. When it comes to charitable giving, I'm not sure caveat emptor works well in this new media environment (assuming it ever worked in the old one).

Even if a donor does have the presence of mind to put down the Twitter and slowly back away long enough to do some research, are the tools available adequate to the job? A review of the Form 990, in my opinion, really doesn't say very much in this case. Of the two largest private rating services, Charity Navigator gave a three out of four and Wise Giving Alliance said IC didn't respond. Is this sufficient for a donor to move forward - not to move foward? Are there other resources that a government should provide to donors (a timely question in light of the approval of the Model Protection of Charitable Assets Act by NCCUSL over the summer) to assist them in the process? How do we make interested donors know these assets are available to them? Is the availability enough?


March 19, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Afield: Resolving the Debate Over Political Campaign Participation by Religious Organizations Through Fiscal Subsidiarity

WAfieldW. Edward Afield III (Ave Maria) has posted Getting Faith Out of the Gutters: Resolving the Debate Over Political Campaign Participation by Religious Organizations Through Fiscal Subsidiarity on SSRN (published at 12 Nevada Law Review No. 12 (2011)).  Here is the abstract:

This Article proposes a unique resolution to the debate over political campaign participation by tax-exempt organizations, specifically religious organizations. By virtue of their tax-exempt status, these organizations are banned from participating in political campaign activity. Commentators have debated the merits of this ban for years and to say that commentators have been all over the map regarding their opinions over the ban is putting it charitably. The ban’s advocates and opponents have staked out seemingly every position imaginable in arguing the merits of this ban. Some commentators have argued forcefully that the ban is needed to preserve constitutional separation of church and state. Other commentators have argued as passionately that the ban is unconstitutional and pulls at the fabric of American democracy by unduly limiting political participation by churches and religious organizations. The arguments of each side of the debate take a zero-sum gain approach to resolving the debate, and commentators seem to discount the concerns of the opposition as either irrelevant or insignificant.

This Article does not attempt to resolve the debate in the literature over the ban’s legitimacy. Rather, this Article proposes a solution that the literature has apparently ignored: finding a compromise between the two extremes of the debate that addresses the primary concerns of both sides. This Article proposes that section 501(c)(3) organizations be permitted an increased amount of political campaign activity in ex-change for paying a tax referred to as a “self-directed tax.” What makes the self-directed tax unique is that the organizations themselves would be permitted to direct the government as to how to allocate the proceeds from the tax to a preset group of government spending choices. Similar rules would apply to the charitable deduction as well. The self-directed tax would allow section 501(c)(3) organizations to become more politically active. This Article’s proposal, however, still allows section 501(c)(3) organizations to preserve their unique status as partners with government in the provision of public goods — a status that justifies not requiring them to provide a portion of their profits to the government for the government to do with as it pleases.


March 19, 2012 in Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Conservation Easement Tax Expenditure: In Search of Conservation Value

Roger Colinvaux, Associate Professor of Law at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, and former Legislation Counsel with the Joint Committee on Taxation has published The Conservation Easement Tax Expenditure: In Search of Conservation Value, 37 Colum. J. Envtl. L.1 (2012).

Professor Colinvaux argues that a fundamental problem with the current conservation easement tax expenditure (the charitable income tax deduction under IRC § 170(h)) is that the measure for the tax benefit – lost economic development value – is erroneous. He argues that the measure for the tax benefit should be changed to one that better approximates conservation value. He also argues that serious consideration should be given to converting the deduction to a credit.

Some of the ideas for the tax credit Professor Colinvaux proposes include:

  • Prioritization of conservation purposes, with conservation easements designed to protect ecosystems being eligible for the highest credit percentages.
  • Maintenance of the perpetuity requirement, in part, because conservation is undervalued by the private property system and “perpetual easements are like affirmative action for conservation; normal rules are switched off to redress a perceived land use imbalance in favor of development.”
  • Suspension of a land trust’s ability to accept new credit-eligible donations if an audit of the organization reveals repeated failures to enforce easements or an unsustainable ratio of easements held to available resources.
  • Availability of higher credit percentages for donations for which a publicly available “conservation appraisal” indicates good conservation outcomes, with factors of importance potentially including whether the state attorney general has unambiguous power to enforce conservation easements, whether there is a history of enforcement in the state, and whether the state has a public registry tracking easements.


March 18, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 16, 2012

International Sports Charity Focus of State Police Investigation

The Hartford Courant reports that Rhode Island State Police are looking into a variety of financial transactions engaged in by the Institute for International Sport that may have improperly benefited Executive Director Daniel Doyle Jr.  Among the transactions at issue are tuition payments for one of the Mr. Doyle's children, $80,000 of "reimbursed expenses" over two years, and millions of dollars in land purchases on an island where Mr. Doyle and an investment partner also owned property.  According to the Institute's website, Mr. Doyle founded the Institute in 1986 and has organized programs involving thousands of student-athletes around the world.  The Institute's most recent Form 990 available on Guidestar shows an annual budget that was $2.3 million in 2008 and $1.1 million in 2009, net assets of approximately $2 million, and annual reportable compensation paid to Mr. Doyle of $72,000 from the Institute, another $72,000 from related organizations, and $25,151 in other compensation from the Institute and related organizations.  The investigation apparently arose from Rhode island's acting state auditor raising questions about the Institute's use of a $575,000 government grant, and over the past month the Providence Journal has run dozens of stories on the Institute, including its financial and other connections to the University of Rhode Island.


March 16, 2012 in In the News, State – Executive | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)