Tuesday…nonprofits rally against proposed disclosure requirements, ABC debate parodies, Gannett earnings call

The Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations, headed by former Star-Bulletin editor and publisher John Flanagan, rallied its members last week with a “Legislative call to action” aimed at killing Senate Bill 3171, which would require registration and disclosure by charitable organizations in Hawaii.

Although versions of the bill have passed both House and Senate, and conferees have been named, no meetings of the conference committee have been scheduled and the deadline for finishing work on any bills is at the end of this week.

The bill has the backing of the Attorney General’s Office, which says more transparency is needed to protect both the public and the nonprofit organizations themselves.

From the letter, signed by Deputy Attorney General Hugh Jones and approved by AG Mark Bennett:

“According to some published reports, as much as 10 percent of charitable giving results from some form of solicitation fraud….Based on a 2002 study by the Hawaii Community Foundation, this would amount to $43 million in Hawaii annually. Yet Hawaii law doesnot currently provide for a systematic program of State oversight….”

A letter addressed to House and Senate conferees, posted on the AG’s charities web site, attempts to address misunderstandings about the bill. It points out that less than 20 percent of Hawaii charities will file the new IRS Form 990 tax returns, which have been revamped on steroids to require additional public disclosures, and many will only fill out a postcard form for the IRS, making state-level disclosure important.

And the letter points out that most nonprofits will be able to comply with the bill’s requirement for an annual financial report simply by filing a copy of their federal Form 990 tax returns.

But talk is that Senator Taniguchi is planning to kill the bill because of the last
minute letter writing campaign by the Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations.

Campaign watchers may enjoy the Los Angeles Times selection of top parodies of the weekend’s ABC News “debate”.

CQ Politics looks at the domino effect if Senator Robert Byrd gives up his chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee. Hawaii Sen. Dan Inouye is next in seniority and would be in a position to step into the chairmanship.

And news junkies will want to check out the transcript of Gannett’s latest earnings call with financial analysts, which reviews both the company’s bottom line as well as its strategy going forward.

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