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Legislative Update: Interim Nonprofit Panel Comments Due May 19

(May 16, 2005) The Panel on the Nonprofit Sector has invited the nonprofit community to comment on a new set of draft recommendations designed to strengthen the governance, transparency, and ethical conduct of charitable organizations.

The recommendations are posted on the panel's website. All comments must be received by May 19th.

AFP is drafting comments and urges others organizations to do as well. However, charities should be aware that this set of recommendations will not be the panel's final report, as had been originally scheduled. Instead, these proposals are a second phase of interim comments. The final report of recommendations will be submitted at a later date.

This delayed timeline obviously causes some concern given the rumors that the Senate Finance Committee likely will try to pass its proposed reforms in the summer. AFP is seeking clarification on the timing of the submission of the panel's final report.

The Noncash Gift Coalition Presses On

The coalition, co-convened by AFP and the American Association of Museums along with numerous other charitable organizations in response to the committee's proposed changes to the noncash gift deductions, has now met several times. The coalition is finalizing its name, mission and legislative strategy. More information will be available shortly.

Charities Must NOT Let the Senate Finance Committee Divide Them

The Senate Finance Committee continues to crusade for tighter regulations for the nonprofit sector, despite growing evidence that there is no need for large-scale reforms.

AFP continues to hear rumblings that Senator Grassley will attach the reforms to the CARE Act and try to pass the bill this summer. The association vehemently opposes this approach.

AFP continues to emphasize the message that existing regulations already give the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the authority to police charitable abuses, including those sensationalized stories that the Senate Finance Committee has referred to in the past. Congress needs to provide sufficient resources to the IRS so the agency can curb these abuses by fully enforcing current regulations.

The charitable sector must stand together and voice this message to Congress. However, AFP has heard stories of various sub-sectors or groups of charities negotiating with the Senate Finance Committee in an effort to protect their particular interests. However, by negotiating with individual charities, the Senate Finance Committee creates a bait-and-switch trap that will allow the committee to obtain the acquiescence of certain sub-sectors of the charitable sector. This approach will allow the committee to covertly introduce sweeping reforms that will harm all charities.

AFP encourages all charities, board members, donors, volunteers and other supports of the nonprofit sector to send letters to their members of Congress today!

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