Congressman funnels $250 million into own nonprofits

Here are the week’s top news stories reported elsewhere:

* Congressman Allan B. Mollohan, member of the House Appropriations Committee, is charged with funneling $250 million into five nonprofits he created, angering federal prosecutors who have filed official complaints questioning whether Congressman Mollohan’s personal fortune also profited, The New York Times reported April 8. Republican leaders have asked that Mollohan, who is the senior Democrat on the House ethics committee, be removed from this position.

* Charity reforms, including measures designed to promote giving and improve accountability, have seemingly been removed from the tax reconciliation bill, which is now in conference, Tax Analysts reported April 10. It is possible these measures will be included in other tax legislation after Congress resolves disputes, officials say.

* The Senate is preparing to vote on repeal of the federal estate tax in May, but according to a new national poll, 57 percent of millionaires favor keeping or reforming the estate tax, which affects those who leave behind estates greater than $2 million, Tax Analysts reported April 12. This support can be traced to an increased budget deficit and a more educated public, officials say.

* With hurricane season approaching, the Red Cross, under fire for alleged mishandling of Hurricane Katrina response, has begun outlining changes to its disaster response, including moves to strengthen cooperation and provide financial assistance to other charities and churches, improve communication and data-collection technology, and tighten documentation of aid disbursement, The New York Times reported April 12.

* The Georgia General Assembly unanimously passed a bill that would retract nonprofit hospitals’ sales tax exemption, requiring instead that nonprofit hospitals pay hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in taxes, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported April 10. Health industry groups are calling on their Governor to veto the bill, which would affect 80 percent of Georgia hospitals.

* Boeing announced it will donate $15 million to the Smithsonian air and space museum, the largest corporate gift the museum has received, to help finance an expansion of its Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, The Washington Post reported April 11. The space and its adjoining hangar will hold 220 airplanes and giant spacecraft, including the shuttle Enterprise.

* Almost seven in ten UK adults want to include a donation to charity in their will, according to a new report by the Remember a Charity consortium, the ThirdSector reported April 5.

* The founder of Pilot Corp., Jim Haslam, and his wife, Natalie, have donated $32.5 million to their alma mater, the University of Tennessee, The San Francisco Chronicle reported April 6. The money, which is the university’s largest gift, will benefit the College of Business Administration and the College of Arts & Sciences.

–Compiled by Laura Newman

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