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LA Times: Gifts to Nonprofits Often Don't Get There

POSTED: 10:55 AM ET, 07/10/2008 by Derek Kravitz

An investigation by the Los Angeles Times has found that hundreds of charities pocket just a fraction of what commercial fundraisers collect in their names.

One example cited is Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington-based nonprofit that prides itself on its opposition to congressional pork-barrel spending. Records filed with the California attorney general's office show that over the last decade, for-profit fundraisers for the group kept more than 94 cents of every donated dollar, Times writers Charles Piller and Doug Smith report. Yet donors could write off the full contribution on their tax returns.

Citizens Against Government Waste, which calls itself "America's #1 taxpayer watchdog," used 20 fundraisers between 1997 and 2006 to net $879,000 -- yet only $49,500 actually went to the Washington-based nonprofit.

Other of CAGW's practices have been in the news recently. In May, The Post's Robert O'Harrow examined the non-profit's advertising work on behalf of Republican presidential candidate John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Because of its tax-exempt status (known as a 501(c)3 organization under the tax code) is not supposed to engage in political activity. But its separate political arm (known as a 501(c)4) can donate money to candidates and lobby on policy issues as long as political activity is not its primary purpose.

Its PAC has donated $11,000 in cash to McCain or a PAC under his control since 2004 -- 20 times as much cash as it has given any other candidate, records show.

By Derek Kravitz |  July 10, 2008; 10:55 AM ET
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noc4ter

Posted by: lidronbastaz | July 15, 2008 1:18 PM

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