Publication Archives: Blog

Charities Will Suffer if Regulators Have Their Way

Loren A. Smith Jr., senior fellow for Labor and Employment Policy at the Institute for Liberty, has a good op-ed at the Fox Forum on the Obama administration’s attack on the charitable tax deduction in his budget. An excerpt:

Many observers were surprised when President Obama suggested cutting back the charitable tax deduction in his budget. However, that was only the latest left-wing threat to charity, and as of this writing, that idea may be defeated in Congress.

Potentially a much larger threat is a move among members of Congress and special interest groups to regulate how and where charitable giving takes place. If enacted, it would result in a vast thicket of federal regulations on how well-meaning individuals and groups can spend their charitable dollars. Many philanthropists would conclude that it’s just not worth the trouble, and many more would see some of their giving siphoned off to groups and causes they do not support.

How could this happen?

The Berkeley, California-based Greenlining Institute purports to support empowerment for minority communities, including urging foundations and philanthropists not to neglect those communities. It’s a worthy goal, but it doesn’t stop there. The Greenlining Institute supports government regulation to evaluate whether a private foundation’s giving is “diverse” and “local” enough. This would be followed by government regulations to compel charities to give money out according to government standards.

What’s Greenlining’s M.O.? Last year, the organization prompted a California state Assemblyman to introduce a bill, AB 624, which would have required some private foundations to disclose the race and gender (and in the bill’s initial form, the sexual orientation) of their board members, staff, and grantee staff. [...]

We published papers by John Gizzi on both topics. Here are links to his article on AB 624 and on the Greenlining Institute.

I wrote in the American Spectator about the Greenlining Institute and how it and other groups such as ACORN and La Raza helped caused the subprime mortgage crisis.