To the Editor:
The recent Patch article, , was informative but very incomplete. Readers should have been advised of several laws that are in effect in Rhode Island, but rarely if ever enforced.
RIGL 5-53.1-12.1 requires that all professional for-profit solicitors (AKA Telemarketers who contact you by telephone or by mail) identify themselves by name and identify the name of the professional for profit professional fund raiser. The law also requires that, if requested, the professional for-profit solicitor must tell you the percentage of the donation that will be retained by the for-profit solicitor. The normal percentage retained by professional solicitors is 85% of the total donation to a charity, which results in the donation not being tax deductible (because 85 cents of every dollar goes to a for-profit solicitor/telemarketer, and only 15 cents of every dollar ever reaches the charity).
RIGL 5-53.1-12.1 was watered down from its original wording prior to passage, because the RI legislators succumbed to pleas fromthe ACLU and some of the large charities who did not want the RIGL to require any for-profit solicitor to identify the amount of donations retained by the for-profit companies when they retained over 50 percent of a contribution. Some of the largest and best known charities preferred to allow the professional for-profit solicitors to deceive prospective donors by telling them that their donation was going to a charity, when the truth was that more than 50 percent of their donation was not going to the charity. Isn’t that the definition of a lie?
RIGL 11-18-31 Solicitation in name of law enforcement agency specifically states “(a) No professional solicitor shall solicit money from any individual or business in the name of any law enforcement agency or any organization which would reasonably appear to be affiliated in any way with any law enforcement agency or personnel.” However, this law is repeatedly ignored by the police, including the RI State Police, and the RI Attorney General’s office despite several complaints. The RI FOP has in the past hired a professional for profit solicitor/telemarketer who has been paid 85% of donations to the RI FOP. Has the RI FOP discontinued its association with this for professional profit solicitor/telemarketer who has been paid 85% of donations to the RI FOP?
Charitable donation to police and fire organizations are key targets of the professional for-profit solicitors/telemarketers (via telephone or mail) because of the unspoken threat that the lack of a donation could result in apersons being placed on a list of Non Donors for possible retaliation, and the unspoken reward that a donation mayresult in preferential treatment.
Although RIGL 5-53.1-12.1 has been in effect since 07/14/2006, and RIGL 11-18-31 has been in effect even longer, both of these laws have been ignore d and unenforced, leaving prospective charitable donors at the mercy of the liesand deceit of the professional for-profit solicitors/telemarketers who tell prospective donors that they are soliciting donations for a charity, when the truth is that they are soliciting donations for themselves, because the charities enter into contracts that typically agree to accept only 15% of a donation. The typical contract between the charitable organization and the for-profit solicitor should read “The charity authorizes the for profit solicitor to deceive the potential contributors by lying to them and telling them that they will be donating to a charity, when it actuality theyare giving over 50% of their donation, typically 85% of their donation to the charity. This deceit is necessary in order for the charity to receive the added 15 cents of each dollar obtained through deceit.”
The RIGL are all available online at WWW.RILIN.STATE.RI.US/STATUTES/
Registration of charitable organizations, requires that all charitable organizations that solicit contributions in RI must file papers with the RI DBR, including the name and a copy of any contract with professional solicitors. Therefore the DBR has the Information..
Prospective donors should contact the RI DBR atRI Department of Business Regulation1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920
Paul McGreevy, DBR Director
Phone: (401) 462-9500FAX: (401) 462-9532E-Mail: PMCGREEVY@DBR.RI.GOVWeb Address: WWW.DBR.RI.GOV
Very Truly Yours,
Roger A. Bennis