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Davis' Foundations

November 19, 2000

* Re "Firms Seeking State Favors Finance Davis Foundations," Nov. 15: Gov. Gray Davis and his cronies have carried the use of charitable foundations to an extreme that is not contemplated by the law. Where politics and charity intersect is often a difficult call, but Davis' indiscriminate use of charitable organizations to promote his personal political aspirations and the Democratic Party is beyond the pale. In all likelihood--despite the fact of the Internal Revenue Service's having issued favorable determination letters concerning the foundation's charitable status--the organizations, upon audit by the IRS, would fail to pass a second requirement for their preferred tax status: That is, they must be "operated exclusively" for enumerated charitable purposes.

Sadly, California has become a one-party state, so our attorney general (who presides over the Registry of Charitable Trusts, California's charitable foundation oversight body) is unlikely to pursue any investigative action. Instead, such actions appear to be reserved only for Republican public figures such as [former Insurance Commissioner] Chuck Quackenbush.


Los Angeles


I voted for Davis for governor and might do so again were he running against the same opponent. His use of a tax-exempt foundation for blatantly partisan purposes, however, sorely tests my loyalty. Although supposedly having the blessing of the IRS, this case fails the smell test miserably. It recalls all too clearly the recent misadventures of L.A. County Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti and Quackenbush in their displays of greed and self-promotion.

My main beef, however, is with the IRS. By what stretch of reasoning should $1.5 million used for a party for delegates to the Democratic National Convention be tax-deductible? I have no problem with nonprofits and in fact am a director of one, but the mission of such an enterprise should, one hopes, be directed toward the public good. Every dollar that these corporate donors conceal from the tax collector to be used for partisan or personal purposes is a dollar that you and I must provide to support actual public needs.


Rolling Hills Estates

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