The Bulletin Board

Compromise bill would protect AG’s ability to monitor nonprofits, charitable trusts

By: - May 24, 2022 10:29 am

If the bill passes and is signed by the governor, the Charitable Trusts Unit will have to change the way it requests information from charitable organizations and trusts. (Dana Wormald | New Hampshire Bulletin)

Lawmakers have reached a compromise on a bill that will allow the Attorney General’s Office to continue its close monitoring of charitable trusts and nonprofits, including sham charities. 

Under the latest changes to Senate Bill 302, the office’s Charitable Trusts Unit would be allowed to get the names of volunteer board members, officers, directors, registered agents, or incorporators of entities when a nonprofit or trust first files with the state. 

And, the unit would be allowed to release the names of board members, directors, and other principals when it felt doing so was in the public interest. That could include identifying charities that had swindled donors. 

As introduced, SB 302 would have made much of that information harder for the state to get and share publicly. 

Diane Murphy Quinlan, assistant director of the Charitable Trusts Unit, told lawmakers earlier this year that waiting for information to appear in an annual report, as the bill initially required, would jeopardize the unit’s ability to identify concerns or risks to the public early on.

Quinlan said in an interview that the office opposed earlier versions of the bill but is taking no position on the proposed compromise going before lawmakers Thursday.

If the bill passes and is signed by the governor, the unit will have to change the way it requests information from charitable organizations and trusts. Rather than make informal requests, as it does now, the unit will have to issue a formal notice by registered mail at least 14 days before the information is due.

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.

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