Sunday, June 24, 2012

U.S. Nonprofits Challenging the Federal Charity Rules to Remain In Good Standing & Rhode Island Provides the Homeless With the First State Bill of Rights

There were some big nonprofit moves covered in the news this week.  One nonprofit agency innovated and voted in new rights for the often unseen homeless American.  Yet some American places of worship and marijuana dispensaries are overtly (even provocatively) challenging the Internal Revenue Service and State Attorney Generals (who oversee nonprofit/charity organizations' behavior and reporting at the state level).  See...

In Historic Move, R.I. Nears Homeless Bill of Rights by Rick Cohen published June 22, 2012 Says, "The Rhode Island State Assembly has just passed the first Homeless Bill of Rights in the U.S."

" The purpose of the law is that, “(N)o person should suffer unnecessarily or be subject to unfair discrimination based on his or her homeless status. It is the intent of this [law]…to ameliorate the adverse effects visited upon individuals and our communities when the state’s residents lack a home.""

To read the rest of this article, click here.
As churches get political, IRS stays quiet by Nanette Burns published June 21, 2012 states that a La Mesa, California pastor will "... urge his flock to vote for or against particular candidates.

"He knows such pulpit pleading could endanger his church's tax-exempt status by violating IRS rules for a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. A charity can take a position on policy issues but cannot act "on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." To cross that line puts the $7 million mega-church's tax break at risk.

"Even so, Garlow not only intends to break the rules, he also plans to spend the next four months recruiting other pastors to do the same as part of Pulpit Freedom Sunday. On that day each year since 2008, ministers intentionally try to provoke the IRS. ..."

"... The situation is fraught with peril for the IRS, which needs to be seen as apolitical. When it cracks down on political activities proscribed by the 501(c)(3) regulations, it is inevitably branded as partisan."

" "It will get worse unless the IRS takes action, and they seem reluctant," said Nicholas Cafardi, dean emeritus and professor of law at Duquesne University and the longtime lawyer for the Catholic diocese of Pittsburgh.""

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Dispensing Profit by Jose Mozingo published June 17, 2012 also questions the use of the nonprofit organization identification but this time the identification is being claimed by California pot dispensaries.

"...The discoveries and many others like them across California are starkly at odds with the image presented by medical marijuana providers, who label themselves as "compassionate caregivers" and say they work on slim margins, give away cannabis to the poor and comply with the law.

"But many medical marijuana dispensaries have been making huge sums of money even as they claim to be nonprofit, according to court and law enforcement records, industry insiders, police and federal agents. The Times found a cash-infused retail world unlike the one pitched to voters who passed the Compassionate Use Act for "seriously ill Californians" in 1996.

"Few would suggest that everyone in the industry is making huge profits; many dispensaries do struggle to stay afloat. Nor do the court cases capture the relief truly ill patients ascribe to high-quality marijuana they might have difficulty getting if these shops did not exist.

"One reason for the vast disparities within the medical marijuana trade is that the regulations governing it are hazy."

To read the rest of this article, click here.

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