Sen. Grassley’s Remarks at the Independent Sector Conference – 2005

A night shot of the eastern facade and dome of the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) made the following remarks at the 25th Annual Independent Sector Conference on October 24, 2005:

– “I see the need for greater responsibility of donors and charities to safeguard the public trust.”

– “I’m pleased with much of the work from the Nonprofit Panel.  There’s much common ground.  There remains areas of disagreement — and that’s to be expected — but there are more areas of agreement than disagreement.  And even in those areas of disagreement, I’m listening closely to the Nonprofit Panel’s comments.”

– “While I hoped to have a complete reform package ready this fall, Katrina has affected this and many other plans.  I hope to bring forward the first phase of reforms this fall and continue with a second phase of reforms as a priority next year as well.”

– “In general, the reforms will focus on better transparency and improving board governance, particularly on self-dealing and high salaries.”

– “I’m concerned about not overburdening smaller charities.  I believe that working with the Nonprofit Panel helps us to find the right balance.  However, in finding that right balance let me address a comment I know is out there.  It’s that all the problems in the nonprofit area can be addressed with more money for enforcement.  This ignore that we haven’t had a serious review of the tax-exempt laws since 1969.  The world has changed since then, and so has the charitable community.  In looking at the laws we must consider three points:  (1) do they deal adequately with the current world; (2) can the laws be easily enforced; and (3) will they effectively deter bad actors?”

– “It’s important for the charitable sector to look at ways of encouraging charities to implement these reforms and best practices.  In particular, funding organizations, such as private foundations and community foundations, have an important role to play in emphasizing the need for these reforms as they make grant-making decisions.”

– “[T]he charitable community should stop standing silently on the sidelines when the newspapers are filled with stories of flagrant waste and abuse at a charity.  …  Charitable leaders must be strong-voiced in condemning inappropriate behavior in their sector.”

Click here for Sen. Grassley’s published remarks.