SEPTEMBER 2018

STATE LAW

California:

United States Congressman Duncan D. Hunter and his wife have been indicted by a Federal Grand Jury that charged them with converting more than $250,000 in campaign funds to pay for personal expenses and filed false campaign finance records with the Federal Election Commission. Among the items noted as expenses were charitable contributions.

The Associated Press reported that a volunteer treasurer for two southern California charities was accused of embezzling more than $1M from the two nonprofit groups. The defendant is charged with more than 180 counts of forgery and grand theft. The individual charged is a certified public accountant who volunteered to provide services to the two organizations.

A decision by a federal district court that ruled against the state in the requirement to provide Schedule B to the state as part of the charitable registration process has been overturned. A three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in California ruled that a charitable group (Americans for Prosperity Foundation) must disclose its donors to the state’s Attorney General. The organization has indicated that it will continue to push that such a mandatory disclosure is a violation of their First Amendment rights. This case may ultimately go to the United States Supreme Court.

Colorado:

The Secretary of State has published revised and amended rules pertaining to the State’s Charitable Solicitation Act. The rules will become temporarily effective October 1, 2018 and permanent twenty (20) days after publication.

Massachusetts:

The democratic gubernatorial candidate proposes a tax on the endowments of the colleges and universities in the Commonwealth in order to fund infrastructure and transportation systems improvements.

Source: Boston Globe 09/20/2018

Missouri:

Top executives at Springfield’s Preferred Family Health Care (a 501(c)(3)) have been charged with misuse of funds and bribing elected officials.

Source: KCUR 09/18/2018

Nevada:

MGM Resorts has filed a lawsuit seeking to take advantage of a law passed after the September 11th tragedy of 2001 that exempts certain categories of persons, firms and entities from liability in the case of a man-made disaster. As a result, the casino company has filed a lawsuit seeking a judgment from the court that they bear no responsibility for the mass shootings of October 1, 2017. The casino company is offering to make a $500 donation for each survivor who waives notice of the suit and accepts service of process. The casino company says the money will go to the organizations that support survivors.

Source: Chicago Tribune Associated Press, September 12, 2018

New Jersey:

What will be the impact of the story of the couple who raised more than $400,000 for the homeless veteran via GoFundMe and then (allegedly) kept most of the money for themselves? The CEO and President of the New Jersey Center for Nonprofits is quoted noting that everyone involved in the charitable giving space will be impacted by stories such as this one. GoFundMe is not actually a registered charity. In a statement, she notes that donors often cannot distinguish between online giving sites as compared to actual registered charities.

New York:

Tax law 360 reports that just one day after Michael Cohen plead guilty in a New York Federal court admitting to tax and campaign finance violations, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance issued its own subpoena to Michael Cohen as part of its investigation into the Donald J. Trump Foundation for suspected violations of state tax law.

Texas:

The FAST Company newsletter on August 17, 2018 reported on the relief efforts to support Houston after Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane itself caused $125B dollars in damages, killed 100 people and affected the lives of everyone in the entire area. According to reports from Charity Navigator, at least 5.4 million donors gave close to $775M dollars to thirty-two crisis response and aide groups. The support provided included 12.8 million meals served and 83.8 million pounds of food.

Washington:

The Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against a former New York stockbroker who set up six nonprofit organizations with legitimate sounding names and used a Seattle address. Among the names used were variations of the United Way, The American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross. The same defendant has allegedly set up charities of questionable origin in eight other states.

Source: Seattle Times

Internal Revenue Service:

The Senate confirmed Chuck Rettig as the new IRS Commissioner. Commissioner Rettig is an attorney with extensive litigation experience.

USPS:

The new rule is being proposed that would have negative consequences for a number of nonprofit mailers. It would eliminate premium mailings that contain items other than paper products. No merchandise or goods would be allowed in “marketing mail” regardless of value. We encourage those organizations and agencies that are most directly affected to get in touch with Steve Kearney at the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers. His email address is steve@nonprofitmailers.org.

FIRM NEWS

Kellie Bubeck was a presenter at the Cybersecurity and Data Privacy conference in Chicago. Kellie talked about TCPA issues.