The House today exempted large non-profits from being financially audited as a part of their collecting donations through the Permanent Fund Dividend distribution. The audit was required as part of the Pick, Click, Give program that allows people to make donations from their annual dividend.
Anchorage Republican Mike Hawker, who opposed the bill, is a certified public accountant. He said the smaller charities – those with annual budgets of less than a quarter million dollars – are already exempt. He said the state needs to show the organizations have good financial management practices in place and exhibit some assurance of integrity.
I personally am very concerned that when we allow an entity to appear on the Pick, Click and Give list, we are either tacitly or I would suggest explicitly telling the public that we support these entities – that they are all equally righteous places for money to be contributed.
Sponsor of the exemption, Homer Republican Paul Seaton, said some non-profits don’t participate in the program because the audit costs more than the amount of donations they get through it. He cited as examples the Literacy Project of Alaska, the Homer Council on the Arts and the Ketchikan Arts and Humanities Council.
Originally this bill got brought to us because the Seward Senior Center has $260-thousand in total receipts for their operating amount. It’s about a $10-thousand certified public audit every year and they received $7-thousand in the one year they did participate. The object of Pick, Click and Give is not to make small non-profits pay more than they receive.
Seaton pointed out that every federally recognized non-profit organization must provide public access to what’s called a 9-90 form. That’s a twelve page financial disclosure document required for certification.
The bill next goes to the Senate for consideration.
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