Compromise bill would protect AG’s ability to monitor nonprofits, charitable trusts
Amended measure would ease restrictions on how information is requested
Lawmakers have reached a compromise on a bill that will allow the Attorney General’s Office to continue its close monitoring of charitable trusts and nonprofits, including sham charities.
Under the latest changes to Senate Bill 302, the office’s Charitable Trusts Unit would be allowed to get the names of volunteer board members, officers, directors, registered agents, or incorporators of entities when a nonprofit or trust first files with the state.
And the unit would be allowed to release the names of board members, directors, and other principals when it felt doing so was in the public interest. That could include identifying charities that had swindled donors.
As introduced, Senate Bill 302 would have made much of that information harder for the state to get and share publicly.
Diane Murphy Quinlan, assistant director of the Charitable Trusts Unit, told lawmakers earlier this year that waiting for information to appear in an annual report, as the bill initially required, would jeopardize the unit’s ability to identify concerns or risks to the public early on.
Quinlan said in an interview that the office opposed earlier versions of the bill but is taking no position on the proposed compromise going before lawmakers Thursday.
If the bill passes and is signed by the governor, the unit will have to change the way it requests information from charitable organizations and trusts. Rather than make informal requests, as it does now, the unit will have to issue a formal notice by registered mail at least 14 days before the information is due.