U.S./world – Charity crackdown – Focus on accountability

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have prompted moves by the U.S. to hold charities more accountable for their fundraising, according to news reports.

President Bush has signed a new anti-terrorism law that tightens regulation of phone appeals by charities and professional fundraisers they hire, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported.

A House subcommittee on Nov. 8 will hold a public hearing on charities’ response to the attacks, including how they’re spending more than $1.1 billion raised since Sept. 11, the Chronicle also reported.

And 19 nations are stepping up regulation of black-market money-transfers and charities used by terrorist groups to pay for their operations, The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 1.

The anti-terrorism law makes charities subject to rules issued in 1995 by the Federal Trade Commission that exempted calls made by or for charities.

Under the new rules, solicitors must “promptly and clearly” say they’re calling to ask for donations, give the name and mailing address of the charity they’re calling for and make “other disclosures” that the commission has not yet defined, the Chronicle said.

Telemarketing industry officials said the new rules will hurt charities by making calls longer and less likely to result in donations.

Witnesses at the Nov. 8 hearing likely will include an official of the Internal Revenue Service, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and representatives of charity watchdog groups and leading charities.

The Journal reported that a 29-nation task force has issued recommendations, including new  rules on money exchanges, stronger disclosure for wire transfers and protections against abuse of nonprofits.

For full story, go to telemarketing, hearing and terrorists.

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