On the Republican side of the aisle in the Minnesota legislature, there is a growing call for intensive investigation into nonprofits especially, in light of the FBI raid in January of the office of Feeding Our Future. The alleged abuse of federal and state money spent on overseas homes, cars and jewelry makes a great case for increased scrutiny of public dollars. But this is not a broad brush, not all nonprofits are bad actors and this appears to be the case where one rotten apple may spoil the entire barrel.
Nonprofits play a significant role in meeting needs that are not met by government and leveraging governmental money along with private donations for greater causes. This is the epitome of a public/private partnership, for the greater good.
We know, due to our conversation with Senate Capital Investment Chair, Sen Tom Bakk (I-03, Cook) that he is interested in reviewing the 990 forms for different nonprofits and making sure the expenditures meet the expressed goals of the nonprofit organizations. Now, we wonder who ox is gored?
In 2000, Republican Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman, sought and received a number of contributions to his nonprofit, intended to build houses for veterans. He set up a scheme to bilk money from state and local government, when there was no there, there. Attorney General Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) stopped him in his tracks and prevented future damage from occurring.
Many entities in the private sector receive government money, and why aren’t they as well attended to when questioning their expenditures?
At the federal level the greatest recipient of dollars is in the military industrial complex (A term coined by future University of Minnesota President Malcolm Moose, speech writer for President Dwight D Eisenhower, who delivered it in his final address to the nation.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEGpTu8sVKI
Military contractors get the largess but rarely if ever any true assessment of value once they have submitted an RFP and the perpetual nature of this is a very parasitic relationship between an armed force and contracting entities which often times were even members of the military prior so just as it was asked of bank robber Willie Sutton, “Willi why do you rob banks,” to which he said the obvious, “that’s where the money is.“ During the robber baron era the trusts required a significant piece of legislation to break up their monopolies and that was viewed as a good discretionary use of government in the private sector.
If people are going to apply the broad brush it should be a properly applied to all recipients of government money certain political categories are quick to want to attack people receiving government assistance. We contend Corporate Welfare is just as or even more so, onerous. Often the same entities want to then get a tax break for childcare or for a stay-at-home mother because they can afford to do so which we find to be completely hypocritical ironic and disgusting. When viewing the question of accountability integrity and provision of services it comes down to what is the intent is the intent just to make money or is the intent to provide a service that cannot be provided elsewhere because it’s generally the case the people create organizations out of an understanding of need and seek nonprofit status to provide such.
We suggest, let’s apply this completely and totally to all let’s create a standard where if you have your hand out for government money expect that it is expect it must be clean expect that the intent of why the hand is out is justified, worthy and noble and not specifically for enrichment of the individual who is palm is shown.
So, say one, so say all.