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Somewhere in this newspaper today – and most likely, somewhere on this very page – is a set of very strong and very powerful words written by our respected cohorts at the S.C. Press Association. The editorial printed by them speaks volumes to the importance of pending legislation sitting in the hands of our state leaders.
There is a bill (H.3931) that is about to become law that would allow non-profits to not disclose how they spend your money. This means they are exempt from adhering to state Freedom of Information laws and requests. Moreover, the bill also says that non-profits who receive less than $100 do not have to submit the would-be-required financial disclosures. What does this say to non-profits? It seems to send a message that you can avoid the eyes of state leaders, and possibly skirt away from a checks-and-balances-system, as long as you don’t ask the public for more than $100. This can essentially create a slew of small donations that don’t have to be used “appropriately.”
We understand the meat of the bill being presented – and we believe that the bill is meant to be good. It requires all non-profits in the state to actually be accountable, on paper, for what they do with your collected money. But, according to the pending state law, that rule only applies if the collected amount is only more than $100. But, there should be no limit on honesty. It doesn’t matter if a local non-profit takes $5 from you or $95 from you, they should be accountable to you for what they do with it.
We support the notion of requiring financial disclosures on how money is spent. We do not support the idea that anything under $100 does not matter. Further, we also do not believe that any non-profit, no matter how small the amount of public money that they are collecting, should not have the sunshine laws shining on them. A Freedom of Information Act should apply to everyone.

Heather Walters (1403 Posts)