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Not-For-Profit My Ass

NFP's are a hypocritical, money laundering scam and need overhaul in the worst way

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, June 21, 1995.

If nothing else good comes out of sustained Republican rule, the re-evaluation of not for profit corporations will rank sufficiently high to merit sustained mention. This look, long overdue and - being America -fueled by hypocritical motivation today - may be the healthiest development to hit our society in a while.

Not for profits were originally established to protect charities and devices for helping valuable and unprotected elements of society from people and their art to medical, research, and educational funds. Like social security, which was originally conceived as a method to protect the aged from starvation on the streets and keep them able to support themselves, NFP’s became bulky and burdened with projects and concepts for which the legal status originally conceived was not enough. They became so easy to assemble that virtually anyone with $300 could hire an attorney and get one.

These corporations are not taxed, and with some maneuvering, could become accepted as a charity, which means that any money given to it becomes cash that is subtracted from the taxable funds of the giver. KGNU has this status, for example, and any money or elements of value given to it are subtracted from the taxable income or values of the giver. This makes it easy for small entities to solicit funds and grant the same advantages of the larger.

What happens, however, if KGNU, like churches, the NRA, the NARP, and environmental groups from forming and owning other businesses whose obvious goal is to make money? Churches as slum landlords is not a new observation, and some try to exempt their church owned land and buildings from county property taxes. What happens if KGNU forms a PAC to which money goes but, being funneled through the station accounts is not to be questioned by donors or government?

What happens if KGNU decided to play pop music, and suddenly became a major player when the ratings came out, and other radio stations suddenly found themselves utterly unable to compete with a station that could play their music plus accept huge foundation grants and donations from the public, none of which was taxable?

What would happen if the staff here suddenly were allowed to have their expenses taken care of by the station? And suddenly, the yearly retreats to Estes Park or wherever became monthly to Pago Pago, Nassau or - hell - Vegas and it became necessary to fly in congressmen and their female secretaries for long weekends of golf, booze, partying, and other things so essentially related to public radio, the first amendment, and the public - god love ‘em ! Should KGNU be allowed to maintain its tax free status?

Where there are tax exempts from the United Way, to the Tail hook Association, to various ecological groups who exist solely to launder drug money, to Jerry Falwell, to the National Rifle Association, and others I am certain elbow their way to the front of your mind’s eye who do all of that and more. All the Pacs, all the lobbyists, all the hypocritical posturing of hyphenated names extolling retina-searing art, and the social dandies serving without pay but half-million dollar annual expense accounts, all of these exist in NFP corporations.

It’s corrupt as hell, has been for a long time, and deserves close scrutiny and searing punishment, for hypocrisy if nothing else.