The NCRP maintains that their suggested regulations are voluntary, but its efforts on the Hill today and yesterday seem to signal a trend towards at least some legislative involvement. NCRP organized meetings between members of its organization and “Senators and Representatives in Congress” to advocate “around a host of issues, including itemized charitable deductions, the IRA Charitable Rollover, the excise tax and program-related investments.” A breakfast meeting was also held with Members of Congress, and NCRP’s stated intent is to “encourage Congress to view foundations as resources on key public policy issues.”
And even if the NCRP maintains that no official legislative action should take place, an organization that works side by side with NCRP does support codifying its philanthropic recommendations into public law. Greenlining Institute put its weight behind a bill in California last year that required charities to report race, gender and sexual orientation of the individuals and corporations they are involved with on every level. The bill didn’t make it through, but it did invite a frenzy of action in satellite locations and spur the dissemination of information by similarly motivated groups.
This philanthropy infighting may be inevitable. With a declining economy, less money for social services are available, and so turf wars over private donations increase. Combined with the high-profile Bernie Madoff scandal, which disproportionately affected non profit organizations, and an increasingly regulation-friendly Congress, the possibility of government regulation is a high priority item for free-market charity groups.