Saturday, February 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Keeping a closer eye on charities

In most American industries, companies that repeatedly fail to deliver on their promises don't last long. But that doesn't apply to a subset of charity work, where some operators pose as do-gooders but ultimately spend little money doing good. Across the country, regulators and industry insiders are stepping up in the wake of a sweeping investigation into the nation's 50 worst charities. Now Florida lawmakers and regulators should ensure the Sunshine State — home to 11 of the worst charities — isn't left behind. There should be no cover for pseudo-charities and the for-profit fundraisers who help them by bilking well-meaning Americans of their money.

The reaction, one month after publication of a yearlong investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting, looks promising. Regulators in multiple states have said they have started to use the Times/CIR database to screen charities for violations that occurred outside their jurisdiction. A leading watchdog group is reconsidering how it rates charities. And industry insiders sound open to considering what they can do to help.

In Florida, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Adam Putnam said his office is reviewing state laws to consider what changes he will suggest to the Legislature to strengthen or adjust state regulation. House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Senate President Don Gaetz should make it a priority. Obvious places to start would be increasing penalties and punishments on those who violate state laws; requiring more information on solicitation methods; recognizing sanctions in other states so that those banned elsewhere can't operate here; and requiring far more transparency to donors about how their money is spent.

But the burden is also on the legitimate nonprofit industry to propose commonsense solutions for weeding out those who exploit charities to make money. Some in the industry have taken umbrage at the Times/CIR method for defining the 50 worst charities, which highlights those with the highest percentage of overhead costs. What would be more helpful is helping to devise a transparent accountability system that will enable contributors to know exactly who gets their donations and how they are spent.

It should not be acceptable for people to say they need money to do good work, collect tax-exempt donations under that premise and then spend that money doing little or none of that good work. The search for a better regulatory system is underway. Putnam and the Legislature shouldn't let up until they have built one here.

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Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the state’s safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last week’s massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Association’s solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasn’t enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldn’t take months or another tragedy for Florida — which is hot and full of seniors — to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. That’s why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.’’ A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he won’t raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trump’s claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nation’s 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trump’s rising deficits and misplaced priorities

It’s not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18