April 2019

State Law

Arizona

On April 2, 700 nonprofits statewide participated in “Arizona Gives Day,” a grassroots effort that invites Arizonians to support their favorite causes. Last year, Arizona Gives Day raised more than $3.2 Million for the participating organizations.

Source: Arizona Republic, April 2, 2019.

An individual was arrested for attempting to use a counterfeit $100 bill in a charity raffle promotion.

Source: Arizona Republic, April 20, 2019.

California

Assembly Bill 1712 would regulate donor advised funds in the state. The bill has just been introduced, and the likelihood of passage is not yet known. Considering earlier legislation to regulate fundraising platforms, it does not appear that it will be passed.

The NonProfit Times reports legislation that would put nonprofits at the front of the line to buy multi-family buildings in San Francisco is expected to easily win approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Source: The Nonprofit Times, April 11, 2019.

Maryland

Television station WBAL, Baltimore, reports that ex-officio Baltimore mayor, Jack Young, has asked the city’s Department of Audits to look into the Associated Black Charities’ management of the Baltimore City Children and Youth Fund.

On April 17, 2019, the Maryland Attorney General and Secretary of State announced a settlement in a case against Lion Fundraising, Police Journal and Fire Yearbook, and the Lion Fraternal Order of Police Assistance Fund. Stephen Everhart agreed to a permanent lifetime ban against him operating or founding a charitable organization or fundraising for any charitable organization. The case was initiated with a cease and desist order, citing multiple violations of the Maryland Charitable Solicitation Act.

Source: Maryland Attorney General’s Office, April 17, 2019.

Michigan

The Secretary of State has introduced 4 specialty license plates from which proceeds will go to the charities of the various professional franchises located in and around the Detroit area.

Source: Detroit Business News, April 16, 2019.

New York

Although the court dismissed all of the state’s claims except one, the Attorney General has announced that the lawsuit against Harris Jewelry over allegations of illegal and fraudulent practices will proceed. The lawsuit was filed in October, 2018, and alleges common law fraud in violation of the state’s charitable co-venturing laws. (Editorial Commentary: This is one of the few, if any, other suits that involve allegations of the charitable co-venture laws being violated in a state. The other issues are much more significant.)

Source: The Legal Newsline, April 28, 2019.

West Virginia

A charity associated with the Governor of the state and the Greenbrier Classic Golf Tournament is under federal investigation according to a subpoena sent to the state Department of Commerce. The charity at issue is “Old White Charities,” a 501(c)(3) exempt organization named for Greenbrier’s 18-hole golf course. The charity itself is in debt, and the government is looking into financial transactions. (Commentary: this could really be something involving major figures in West Virginia charities and golf courses.)

Source: The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, April 15.

Congress

Charities will be facing a 21% tax if Congress does not repeal Section 512(a)(7) which was put in place in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The law, unless changed, imposes an unrelated business income tax on certain benefits that are provided to employees by charitable organizations, e.g. transportation and parking. According to an article in The NonProfit Times, the measure was discussed recently at a hearing, and momentum is growing for the repeal of the provision.

Source: The NonProfit Times, March 28, 2019.

U.S.P.S.

The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers has issued an alert to its members, sponsors, and friends that the Postal Service has issued an industry alert to let customers know that it will take no action to change its rules about including merchandise in marketing mail. This important announcement refers back to a notice published in August of 2018 where the Postal Service floated the idea of restricting marketing mail and flat-size pieces regardless of the level of sortation.

Source: Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, April 4, 2019.

Other

Combined Federal Campaign

The NonProfit Times on April 18, 2019, reported that workplace giving by federal employees through the Combined Federal Campaign declined for the 9th consecutive year. In 2018, the declined was 11%. Pledges totaled $90.2 Million compared to $101.4 Million in 2017.

Industry News

On April 29, 2019, The NonProfit Times reported that two separate pharmaceutical companies have agreed to a $120 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. At issue was the companies’ funding of nonprofits as a way to get their products used by patients. The Department of Justice alleged that the firms used charities as a method of improperly covering the co-pays of Medicare patients using their drugs. Allegedly, it is a violation of the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

Source: The Nonprofit Times, April 29, 2019.