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FEC fight unites nonprofits

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Here are the week’s top nonprofit stories:

* Proposed Federal Election Commission rules to limit donations to nonprofits known as 527s have drawn fire from more than 600 nonprofits ranging from the Sierra Club and pro-choice groups on the left to Focus on the Family and pro-life groups on the right, the Washington Post reported April 14.

* President Bush and his wife, Laura, gave $68,360 to charity in 2003, or 8.3 percent of their adjusted gross income of $822,126, while Vice President Cheney and his wife, Lynne, gave $321,141 to charity, or 24.7 percent of their $1.3 million income, The Associated Press reported April 13. The Bushes gave to three churches, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the Combined Federal Campaign, while most of the money the Cheneys donated came from Mrs. Cheney’s book royalties.

* Charities worry that many Americans will stop donating cars because donation procedures would become more burdensome if Congress passes legislation to limit the tax-deductible amount of car donations, but lawmakers say charities are overstating the burdens, The Associated Press reported April 13.

* Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and board chair of the Howard Heinz Endowment and Heinz Family Philanthropies, says she would continue her philanthropic work and avoid policy-making if her husband were elected president, The Associated Press reported April 12.

* Maryland denied AmeriDebt, a large, nonprofit credit-counseling group, a nonprofit license to operate in the state, the Washington Post reported April 7. Several suits accuse the group of deceiving customers, and there is growing concern that other credit counselors nationwide are misusing their nonprofit status.

* Fifty-seven percent of residents of New York City gave to charity in 2003, less than the national average of 58 percent, and three of four said they never donate when solicited by phone, The Associated Press reported April 6.

* Representatives from community foundations in North America, Europe and Mexico met to discuss the spread of philanthropy in Poland, where 17 community foundations have sprouted in the past six years, and to address the growing interest of creating community foundations in Eastern Europe.

— Compiled by Jennifer Whytock

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