I saw this opening paragraph and immediately thought of the early days of the Sandy charity created by Chris and Mary Pat Christie:
A Sandy relief group that has raised $1 million in cash is not a tax-exempt organization, as it claims, nor is it registered in New Jersey to operate as a charity, an Asbury Park Press investigation found.
All the accusations in this article — that the charity is not registered, is not a non-profit, solicits large dollars but hasn’t distributed them, is relying on a name used elsewhere — could have been leveled at the Christie-run charity in the first month or so of its existence.
In fact, they were discussed here at Blue Jersey but skirted elsewhere. The governor and his wife were given the benefit of the doubt even after raising tens of millions with no board, no explanation of how the money would be used, and no legal structure.
The media didn’t investigate any of this, but allowed Mary Pat Christie to say, “We’re working on it” and that was that. The Christie’s have powerful friends and some pretty good lawyers who can push through registrations and navigate the governmental red tape. Thus they were able to retroactively make things legal, if not right.
The article today on the other Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund is extensively researched, quite complete and a necessary hedge against poorly run non-profits, and even against scams. I applaud the Asbury Park Press for taking this tack.
But I question why these two folks are treated differently than the Christies in similar situations. The big differences are that this charity has been unregistered for much longer, and the people who run it don’t have the resources the Christies do.