The Loyal Opposition looks at HB 187

Welcome to a new column.  I will be analyzing bills and initiatives in a new column called the loyal opposition.  Under this column, we will also have guest opinions.  The first bill we scrutinize is Delaware House Bill 187 which is purported to safeguard charitable donors. The synopsis of the bill is as follows:”This Act will require, among other things: (1) the registration of all charitable organizations soliciting in this State or engaging in solicitation activities directed to Delaware citizens and the annual disclosure of certain financial information relating to these entities; and (2) the registration of professional fund-raising counsel and professional solicitors soliciting in this State or engaging in solicitation activities directed to Delaware citizens and the annual reporting of certain financial information relating to these entities. The purpose of these regulations and the electronic compilation and publication of this information serves to provide the public with the tools and information sufficient to make informed decisions about which charitable purposes to support while also facilitating transparency and confidence in the sector; thereby creating a more robust philanthropic climate in Delaware. Armed with more information, the public and the Delaware Department of Justice will be able to more aggressively and proactively pursue charitable fraud.” I have a problem with requiring electronic reporting, but also “certain financial information”.  It is the “certain” part that bothers me.  The worse part of the bill is beyond the innocuous sounding synopsis.  It is what is described in the synopsis as other things as in “the act will require among other things”.   What are those other things?  How will the compliance cost impact smaller, local charities?  Doesn’t Chapter 25 of Title 6 have plenty of regulations and anti-fraud provisions? What is the hidden agenda? According to the attached fiscal note, an estimated 2,000 organizations operating in the State of Delaware will be affected.  Some national organizations are considering pulling out of Delaware as they have a couple of other states.  Why? It will force charitable organizations – both state and national – to maintain a burdensome level of administrative costs, labor-intensive record keeping, and privacy-shredding reporting requirements. The bill will also prohibit organizations from soliciting for new members and donations unless they use state-approved, registered solicitation vendors.  All in the name of preventing fraud which we already have the laws and tools to prevent. Some believe it is about preventing another “When Pigs Fly” campaign, which frustrated the powers that be because they have no proof who organized and funded it.  Others believe it is to discourage the new rising opposition on both the left and right from getting better fundraising and becoming more effective.  If you hire a fundraiser, whether you are successful or not, you fall under all of these requirements in the bill.  If so, it is a blunt weapon which will harm homeless shelters and many other charities that managed to reach $50,000 from private sources. HB 187 is an onerous law that can be used to punish grassroots citizen groups at will if they dare to speak out against government officials and to control non-profit organizations who don’t bend to the government’s will or are funded primarily with government money. We need to mobilize against this assault on our Constitution, our natural rights, and our ability to work together.  Whether you are on the left or the right, if we accept more and more restrictions on our ability to organize, we will soon lose that freedom.  It is a short step on this to demand donor lists.  The national website required to be used in this bill does just that and it has no ability to put in anonymous donors. The loyal opposition says defeat this bill. (Thanks to Eric Boye for contributing information to this post.)  

15 thoughts on “The Loyal Opposition looks at HB 187”

  1. David if you want to know what the “other things” and “certain financial information” are, then why not read the bill instead of just the synopsis?

    Or is that too complicated for you?

  2. I guess you didn’t read the post, Nitpicker. Actually, I think you did, but are just late on April Fools. The whole post was about “the other things” and the details of the bill. The point is that the synopsis tries to sound innocuous, but it is the certain details and other things that are real issues.

  3. You omitted the fact that Delaware is one of the few states that does not already have such a law.

  4. Nobody on April 3, 2014 at 08:40 said: “You omitted the fact that Delaware is one of the few states that does not already have such a law.”

    If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?

  5. Why is it a negative implication for an argument that other States have such a law?

    You betray your assumptions in many ways, even insecurities.

    If all the other people in my neighborhood have a rotting pumpkin on their porch left over from Halloween, I’d better have one, too.

    The fact that you assume it is a negative — rather than a positive or irrelevant — factor that other States have such laws screams your assumptions about government, law, politics, and federalism.

    Every State is supposed to be different, to try different things.

    How many times on these pages have people screamed how Delaware is unique, when I am trying to point out the same arguments and tactics used everywhere by liberals throughout the nation?

    Doesn’t matter, many of you say, because Delaware is different.

    And even if Delaware were not different, the fact that other States have done something does not in any way support the idea that what they did was a good idea.

    The argument, implied, that because other States it then it must be a good idea reveals your view of government:

    Governments don’t make mistakes, do they?

    State governments are never wrong, are they?

    So if other States have such a law, it could not possibly be wrong or a mistake, could it?

    If other States have such laws, they have to be right. Right?

    Well, other States have genuine Sheriffs, too. Should Delaware have a real law enforcement Sheriff because other States do?

    Florida has NO income tax on individuals. Should Delaware abolish the income tax for Delawareans?

    Houston, Texas, has no zoning laws, yet it has developed the same as other cities. Should Delaware abolish zoning, and sae money on bureaucrats?

    How about if Delaware adopts and copies all the policies of Detroit?

  6. If 40-odd states have such a law, the onus is on you to explain why we shouldn’t have one.

  7. “Some national organizations are considering pulling out of Delaware…”

    Oh really? Which one’s? If it’s the Girl Scouts, I may be interested. The 9-12 er…patriots, or Rich Collins, not so much.

    From the Delaware Alliance for Non Profit Advancement, John Baker, DANA’s Executive Vice President of Policy & Programs

    “The Delaware Attorney General’s office has been very responsive to make this bill the least cumbersome for the nonprofit sector while achieving their goal of increasing the public’s confidence in the charitable nonprofits. Overall, it is hoped that with increased confidence and transparency, individual giving may increase. Delaware is one of eight states in the country that presently do not require nonprofit 501(c)(3) registration. All of our surrounding neighbor states require nonprofits soliciting in their states to register. Therefore, this bill will bring Delaware into alignment with our neighbors, as well as most of the nation. “

  8. I am not saying Delaware should not have a bill to protect the citizens from scrupulous charities – I just think this bill needs some work.

    It requires all organizations with gross receipts over $1,000,000 to have an audited financial statement and entities with gross receipts over $500,000 to have a reviewed financial statement. This is an administrative burden that takes money away from the not-for-profits that could be used for their intended mission.

    Also the exemption for entities with gross receipts under $50,000 has another land mine. If you have a part time employee that helps with fundraising than the exemption does not apply.

  9. JP on April 6, 2014 at 06:29 said: “I am not saying Delaware should not have a bill to protect the citizens from scrupulous charities – I just think this bill needs some work.”

    WHY does Delaware need more and more REDUNDANT laws to DUPLICATE what is already in the law?

    If a charity commits fraud, you don’t think they can’t prosecute or sue now? REALLY?

    What do you imagine might be a problem? Be a responsible, careful thinker. WHAT are you trying to address?

    NEXT QUESTION: Is it already illegal under existing law?

    Ah-YUP.

    Have you heard of mail fraud? Wire fraud (telephones).

    Have you heard of fraud?

    So you plan to create yet another set of laws that are not needed, to duplicate laws that already exist.

    Why do you want to do this? Because Delaware is so RICH that you can afford to throw away resources on unnecessary and silly things, with duplicate, redundant, over-lapping programs.

  10. Nobody on April 5, 2014 at 09:23 said: “If 40-odd states have such a law, the onus is on you to explain why we shouldn’t have one.”

    Nope. The fact that other States — including many struggling under budget deficits and exhibiting dysfunction — are doing something makes it LESS plausible that Delaware should do it also.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Dave on April 5, 2014 at 10:12 said: ““Some national organizations are considering pulling out of Delaware…”

    That’s actually the wrong way to look at it.

    As with all regulations, the big organizations can hire lawyers or other professionals to comply with the regulations.

    It is the smaller charities — including those addressing specific problems — that will have to shut down.

    Regulations always benefit big business and also unresponsive Big Charity which just provides big salaries and benefits to its insiders.

    Remember CREW? Melanie Sloan, who grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, whose parents are Biden donors, who went to Wilmington Friends School, runs Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. This is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt AND tax deductible organization, which illegally intervened in the 2010 US Senate election.

    Melanie Sloan earns $230,000 per year — from a CHARITY 501(c)(3).

    Those big charities who can afford to pay professionals to comply with the law will not be affected.

    Smaller charities close to the people who are working in communities and are responsive to the people will struggle and many will close.

    ALSO REMEMBER with any regulation: There is not just the burden of what the law says but the UNCERTAINTY factor of whether or not your organization has crossed the line or a bureaucrat may believe you have crossed the line.

    I used to be on the Board (not any more) of a political organization that does direct-mail fund-raising, and has to comply with these laws regulations in the roughly 30 (not 40) States that have them.

    The State of Utah suspended our right to mail in Utah. Why? They wouldn’t tell us. We couldn’t figure out what the blazes they were talking about.

    When we finally pinned them down, they had CONFUSED a letter from SOME OTHER organization.

    They were accusing us with SOMEONE ELSE’s fund-raising letter that we had nothing to do with.

    And then there is the fact that bureaucrats do not stay within the lines of the law. Bureaucrats get creative to go BEYOND what the law actually says. So what the law says doesn’t count. What a bureaucrat wants to IMAGINE the law might mean, if you look at it funny, is what the State will require of those affected.

  11. “The fact that other States — including many struggling under budget deficits and exhibiting dysfunction — are doing something makes it LESS plausible that Delaware should do it also.”

    IN a career of saying stupid things, you have just said your stupidest thing yet.

    Either show me the REAL drawbacks from the 40-odd states with such a statute — not those in your fevered imagination, real examples — or ST-U.

  12. By the way, the 40=state figure came from a link provided by Pat Fish.

    Would it actually kill you to look something up for once, instead of arguing from your own store of dubious experience?

  13. “If 40-odd states have such a law, the onus is on you to explain why we shouldn’t have one.”

    by your logic… if 40-odd states have county sheriffs with arrest powers, the same onus is on you to explain why we shouldn’t have them.

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