May 29,2007

Sens. Grassley, Baucus work to build confidence in nonprofits through greater transparency

WASHINGTON — Seeking greater transparency into the workings of tax-exempt organizations including charities, Sens. Chuck Grassley and Max Baucus are urging the Treasury Secretary to update the IRS tax form used by the nonprofit sector.

The senators made their request in a letter sent today. They urged the Treasury Department to make gathering more and better information a top priority and to pay particular attention to the operational complexities of nonprofit hospitals and universities. “While we always hear that sunshine is the best disinfectant, sunshine can’t do its work unless we open the blinds,” Grassley and Baucus wrote. “The sooner we open those blinds the better.”

Grassley and Baucus have worked together to conduct oversight and achieve major legislative reforms of the laws that help to govern tax-exempt organizations. Baucus is Chairman and Grassley is Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance.

“At this point, it’s clear the IRS needs to get a better picture on a wide range of issues involving tax-exempt organizations,” Grassley said. “Executive pay is one of them. It can be easier to understand how much a Fortune 500 executive is paid than how much a charity is compensating its executives due to the shell games that go on in some cases. Fast and loose games in this area and others undermines the mission of nonprofits and fosters a public cynicism that’s detrimental to all charities as they rely on public support for their nonprofit work.”

“Charities and other nonprofit organizations do a great deal of work to benefit American communities, both to deal with crises and to improve our daily lives,” said Baucus. “It’s important to ensure, however, that these organizations receiving tax-exempt status earn it on a daily basis, and keep their activities and policies in line with the special status conferred on them by the tax code.”