A bill from U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Penn., and U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., cracking down on fraudulent charities passed the U.S. House without opposition on Tuesday.
Kelly proposed the bill earlier in the month with Murphy as the only cosponsor. The bill ensures tax-exempt organizations file with the federal government electronically and have the IRS make those records public. Kelly and Murphy insisted that these changes would lead to less fraud and more transparency and give federal and state authorities more ability to target fraudulent charities.
“When it comes to charitable giving, the United States is the most generous nation on Earth,” said Kelly. “That makes it all the more important to ensure that Americans are protected from scammers who despicably steal well-intended donation money from the people and causes that actually need them. By instituting an e-filing policy for all charitable giving organizations, we can help reduce fraud and increase accuracy, efficiency, and accountability throughout the giving community. This will also help eliminate paperwork, reduce IRS administrative costs, and ultimately save taxpayer money. I thank my colleague Rep. Murphy for working with me on this bipartisan bill to use the joint power of transparency and technology to make it easier to catch bad actors who shamefully abuse charity for personal gain.”
“Millions of Americans contribute to charitable organizations every year, and they deserve assurance that their hard-earned money will be used the way it was intended,” said Murphy. “Charity scams hurt the ability of legitimate organizations to raise funds and awareness for important causes. This bill will make it easier for the government to identify, shut down, and prosecute scam organizations that use charitable contributions for their personal benefit, rather than to help those in need. I’m proud to file this bipartisan bill with Congressman Kelly to help charitable donations fulfill their important missions.”
The National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) is backing the bill.
“Having electronic data for all Form 990 filers is necessary in order to fully realize these potential savings for charities, and to ensure that the states have ability to identify and stop fraudulent activity that harms charities and donors more quickly and effectively,” NASCO President Karen Gano wrote in support of the proposal.