Assemblyman Frazier Reportedly Putting Politics Before People With Non-Profit Bill

23

Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) has recently submitted AB 2855 which takes aim at how non-profits disclose their financials to the public. Non-profits have come out against the bill calling it a duplication of effort and will create a financial burden for them.

Assemblyman Frazier, who has ran on the campaign slogan “People Before Politics” has placed the bill in two separate committees where it is currently under review.

According to the Bill:

This bill would require an Internet Web site produced by, or on behalf of, a charity to contain an Internet Web page that includes a disclosure of the charity’s administrative overhead expenses and a copy of the charity’s most recent Internal Revenue Service Form 990 filing and would further require each Internet Web page on the Internet Web site to contain a direct link to that financial disclosures Internet Web page, as specified. The bill would also require a document produced by, or on behalf of, a charity for solicitation for charitable purposes to include a disclosure statement indicating the percentage of the charity’s funding spent on those administrative overhead expenses, as specified. As a violation of these requirements would be a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Under the bill, if a non-profit does not comply with his suggested reporting system, including dictating “font size” on a website, the Franchise Tax Board may suspend or revoke the charity’s exemption from the taxes imposed by the Corporation Tax Law.

The California Association of Nonprofits, a statewide alliance of over 10,000 organizations, calls AB 2855 “a bad bill for nonprofits” and says it places duplicative and unnecessary requirements on nonprofits, and then imposes penalties that are far out of proportion.

They wrote a letter of opposition to Assemblyman Frazier on March 23, 2016 stating the bill does not solve any problems, but creates burdens for the vast majority of non-profits. A portion of the letter says:

These provisions are duplicative and burdensome, both for nonprofits and the state. For example, the IRS Form 990 is already a public and readily available document, and the Attorney General’s office maintains a public Registry of Charities that provides information about whether a nonprofit is complying with state rules. Overhead expenses are not necessarily a negative. For example, overhead includes necessary costs that charities incur including utilities, insurance, legal compliance and health care benefits. And while a high overhead percentage could theoretically be cause for concern, it is also that case that organizations like PTAs and food pantries often have high overhead percentages merely by virtue of their high reliance on volunteers.

While we share your concern about transparency for donors, we feel the existing requirements work well for donors seeking such information. Many, many small nonprofits don’t even have web sites and many others who do already provide access to the information that AB 2855 seeks to compel. While it is not clear what problems AB 2855 would solve, it does strike us that it would create problems for the vast majority of charities which are well-run and conscientious

The California Association of Nonprofits are asking all non-profits across the state to reach out to Assemblyman Frazier’s office in opposition of this bill.

This bill comes after Assemblyman Frazier and his wife Janet Frazier announced late last year they were divorcing. Janet Frazier and their daughter now run the family non-profit “The Network of Care” which under the law will feel the burden of the reporting requirements.

Assemblyman Frazier has also been vocal to many political insiders about targeting a specific non-profit in his district with a bill targeting non-profit pay as a way to embarrass some who he believes takes home too much money. The statements Frazier has made have been corroborated by several sources, who out of fear of retaliation from Frazier, did not want to be identified.

(editors note: when we questioned Assemblyman Frazier on this bill and the damage it could put on non-profits more than a month ago, he and his office stopped communicating with this publication. It was at this point where we published an editorial on political bullying and hinted at this bill becoming a reality.)

According to a Sacramento lobbyist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, spoke with Assemblyman Frazier’s staff on why this bill was moving forward. The lobbyist was told that the Assemblyman had a beef with a certain individual in his district and was targeting that individual for the failure of one of his bills which he is now taking personally.

“After the failure of the bill, Frazier has since made threats, but that apparently is his known tactic when he does not get what he wants,” said the lobbyist. “The buzz around the capital is that non-profits are against this bill and calling it petty and punitive. It’s sad, rather than doing the right thing, the assemblyman is simply creating a lot of negative energy based on vendettas and instead should simply just let things go.”

Lisa McBride, founder and executive director of the Special Kids Foundation, says she was shocked and disappointed Assemblyman Frazier has brought this bill forward after he was once a huge champion for the non-profit.

“Why on earth would any person with an ounce of compassion, or empathy try to make our quest to support the families in our community who are challenged like we are more cumbersome, more challenging, and frankly, more work?” explained McBride. “This is disgusting. We are also paying members of Cal Nonprofits, and are grateful that they understand this bill and have the insight to speak out in support of us, as to the honest intent we all share to do good in our community for those who need a hand. What a bitter disappointment, it’s just so how disillusioning.”

David Miller, a republican challenging Frazier for his assembly seat this fall, said off the top of the head, he can think of several non-profits in Contra Costa and Solano Counties who would be vehemently opposed to the bill. He noted that government should be making it easier for non-profits to serve the public, not create more burdens.

“I am confident that all non-profit organizations in general, are working in the public’s behalf.  It is in the best interest of the Legislature to not try to legislate non-profits, both large and small, because of the constant and selfless good work they do,” said Miller. “One can only surmise, and I really hope I’m wrong, now that Assemblyman Frazier who regrettably is divorcing his wife, isn’t just doing this to simplify ways of keep tabs on how his wife administers their family non-profit, which doesn’t deserve this kind of state scrutiny, and I can think of literally hundreds of others that don’t either.”

At this time, its unclear if Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon supports or opposes the bill, however, prior to his election in the State Assembly in 2012, Rendon led Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services, Inc., a nonprofit provider of comprehensive child development and social and medical services to over 2,300 children and families offered through thirty-five child development centers located throughout Los Angeles County. Before working at Plaza, Rendon served as the Interim Executive Director of the California League of Conservation Voters from 2008 to 2009.

Here is a look at the AB 2855

SECTION 1.

Section 17510.86 is added to the Business and Professions Code, to read:

17510.86.

(a) An Internet Web site produced by, or on behalf of, a charity that operates, or engages in the solicitation for charitable purposes of funds or other property, in this state shall comply with both of the following:

(1) The Internet Web site shall contain a financial disclosures Internet Web page, which shall include both of the following:

(A) A disclosure of the sum total of the salaries, other compensation, and employee benefits of the charity’s executive director and board of directors and all of the charity’s other administrative overhead expenses, as reported on the charity’s most recent Internal Revenue Service Form 990 filing. The disclosure shall be set forth in at least 14-point, bold, sans serif type font and shall be clear and conspicuous, as defined in Section 17601.
(B) A complete copy of the charity’s most recent Internal Revenue Service Form 990 filing.
(2) Each Internet Web page on the Internet Web site shall include a direct link to the financial disclosures Internet Web page required pursuant to paragraph (1). The direct link shall contain the phrase “Click here to read a full disclosure of the finances, including the salaries and expenses, of this organization,” shall be placed in the top right corner of each Internet Web page in at least 14-point, bold, sans serif type font, and shall be clear and conspicuous, as defined in Section 17601.
(b) (1) A document produced by, or on behalf of, a charity for the solicitation for charitable purposes of funds or other property in this state shall include a disclosure statement indicating the percentage of the charity’s funding that is spent on the sum total of the salaries, other compensation, and employee benefits of the charity’s executive director and board of directors and all of the charity’s other administrative overhead expenses, as reported on the charity’s most recent Internal Revenue Service Form 990 filing.
(2) The disclosure statement shall be printed on the first page of the document in at least 14-point, bold, sans serif type font and shall be clear and conspicuous, as defined in Section 17601.
(c) The Attorney General may enforce this section by taking any of the following actions against a charity that provides false information or otherwise violates this section:
(1) Directing the Franchise Tax Board to suspend or revoke the charity’s exemption from the taxes imposed by the Corporation Tax Law (Part 11 (commencing with Section 23001) of Division 2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code). The suspension or revocation shall become effective immediately upon receipt by the Franchise Tax Board, and the Franchise Tax Board shall reinstate the exemption only upon subsequent notification by the Attorney General that the charity is in compliance with this section.
(2) Refusing to register, or revoking or suspending the registration of, a charity pursuant to the Supervision of Trustees and Fundraisers for Charitable Purposes Act (Article 7 (commencing with Section 12580) of Chapter 6 of Part 2 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).
(3) Taking any other enforcement action pursuant to the Attorney General’s existing powers and duties.

SEC. 2.

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

Comments

comments

SHARE

23 COMMENTS

  1. Once a jerk, always a jerk. This guy is officially a fraud and is not someone I supported in his election. Attacking his ex-wife and non-profits seems kinda low to me.

  2. A letter I received this morning:

    At CalNonprofits we try to stay hopeful, but AB 2855 is a bad bill with no silver lining. Help us stop it.

    Dear Joanne,

    Introduced by Assemblymember Jim Frazier, AB 2855 would require disclosure of administrative and overhead expenses and a copy of the most recent Internal Revenue Service Form 990 filing on a nonprofit’s webpage.

    What?! That’s bad enough, but it gets worse. The bill goes on to propose that violating any of these requirements would be a crime subject to suspension or revocation of the nonprofit’s tax-exempt status. It would authorize the Attorney General to take any other enforcement action within its existing powers and duties.

    No wonder CalNonprofits is opposing this bill: it places duplicative and unnecessary requirements on nonprofits, and then imposes penalties that are far out of proportion. You can read our letter to Assemblymember Frazier here.

    This bill plays on many of the same old tired misconceptions about nonprofits and overhead. We’ve been campaigning hard to get the public and government officials to understand what overhead expenses really are, like our utilities, insurance, legal compliance and accounting costs. And while a high overhead percentage could theoretically be cause for concern, it is also the case that organizations like PTAs and food pantries often have high overhead percentages merely by virtue of their high contributions of work by volunteers.

    And information about nonprofits is not exactly a secret. The IRS Form 990 is already available to the public, the California Attorney General’s office maintains a public Registry of Charities that provides information about whether a nonprofit is complying with state rules, and many nonprofits do post financial information on their websites now.

    Sadly, this bill plays on public fears about the shady deals of a few high-profile scam charities. But we know that the overwhelming majority of nonprofits are conscientious, and get by on lean budgets and armies of volunteers to provide critical services for our communities.

    We need your help to stop this bill.

    1. Please call Assemblymember Frazier’s office now with this simple message: Withdraw this bill. Call 916-319-2011 today.

    2. Pass this information on to your nonprofit colleagues and ask them to oppose AB 2855.

    Thanks for joining us in this fight to protect nonprofits!

    For questions or more information, contact our Policy Director Nancy Berlin at nancyb@calnonprofits.org. Let us know you’ve called Assemblymember Frazier by replying to this email or emailing Nancy directly.

    P.S. Not yet a CalNonprofits member? Join now to increase the advocacy voice of nonprofits in Sacramento and benefit from exclusive and discounted goods and services.Sign up today!

  3. This is pretty petty Mr. Frazier. It’s pretty sad that lobbyist have figured out how you operate and no longer fear calling you out.

  4. Okay, am I the only one offended that Mr. Frazier would use his staffs time on our tax dollars to create a bill to go after his ex-wife, go after a local non-profit just to settle a score? This guy must be removed from office at first chance. He is not fit to serve the public any longer.

  5. Anybody in Sacramento supporting this bill should be thrown out of office. I do not believe this is why we sent you to Sacramento Mr. Frazier. You can and should be replaced.

  6. I am at a loss for words. Shame on Jim Frazier. Good job ECT on raising awareness on this important bill. Hopefully it is killed in committee by assembly members who actually have a brain.

  7. I have a few issues with this:

    Why would a state assemblyman think it is okay for him to direct his staff to spend time (and thousands of taxpayer dollars) to work on a bill directed at hurting certain individuals. I find it appalling that this is what goes on in our state legislature when we have so many real problems to solve. We do not elect people to go to Sacramento to use their office as a weapon to hurt others. I am curious if any other state representatives are supporting this bill particularly local ones.

    Frazier appears to not be a very smart guy to think that he could target nonprofits and not get the wrath of every good cause in this state pointed at him. He helped get attention in our community because of the good works he did in his community early on so it is ironic that he would bite the vehicle that helped him get to where he is.

    Finally, this bill is stupid. We need a system that helps make it easier for nonprofits to stay compliant not harder. Nonprofits make a huge difference in all of our communities and we need to make it easier for them to do their work. We need a system that helps good organizations do good work and prevent shady people from doing things in the name of nonprofits.

    Shame on you Mr Frazier, I might just vote for the other guy because of this.

  8. Shameful. He’s the same corrupt politician he’s always been since his early days in Oakley. I had hopes that he would do great things – I deeply regret my vote for him. Just another crook trying to secure his employment term by hurting those who supported him – it never was about the people, was it Jim? Self-serving, hypocrite – anyone would be a better fit than this buffoon.

  9. Anyone check the facts? All this energy to punish soon to be ex-wife and kid? Sounds like a bunch of gossip and small minded people.

    • Small minded appears to be your comment. Stop drinking the Frazier kool-aid! Did you even read the bill? It’s very despicable what he is attempting to do!

    • @James

      Jim is that you? Small minded? Gossip? No, actually it’s a reaction by a lot of people to a actual Bill that is being considered for Law. On that could harm NON profits. You know, the agencies that help people without making a profit?

      How you mistake that for gossip by small minded people is incredulous. Maybe you are Jim Frazier. Hmmmmmmm.

  10. All anyone has to do is go on Guide Star if they want to look into non-profits. This bill is a waste of time and is a witch hunt against certain non-profits pay and overhead. Does Mr. Frazier think the public really needs to be babysat before deciding to donate to one non-profit over another? He is toast after this bill.

    If people want to donate to the cause, it really shouldn’t matter how much they pay their people or how much they spend, each non-profit is different and some relay on grants for funding while others relay on donations. This is a terrible bill for everyone.

  11. Frazier has always been a bad actor. Too bad it took everyone this long to find out. Baby kissing, arm waving, can’t look you in the eyes, coffee with the (blank) and photo ops, should have been a big clue. It’s not about people, it’s not about politics, it’s about Jim.

    He remindes me of a tick. This is just one example of many when it comes to bad behavior. He has a long list of ex friends that are now bitter enemies.

    He won’t last long. It was only a matter of time. Jim has always been about Jim.

  12. Fact 1 Frazier introduced the bill
    Fact 2 The bill is stupid and it will hurt nonprofits
    Fact 3 It was documented that Frazier was working on this a few months ago on this site
    Fact 4 For those in the know, beyond this site, there was a rumor this was going to happen and why.

    Many people in this community have witnessed or experienced Frazier and his bulling and intimidation for too long. It is disappointing that he would spend his time on such a nonsensical bill, it’s disturbing that he would do it for personal reasons, and it is outrageous that he would do it using tax payer paid staff to do his dirty work.

  13. Wouldn’t a complaint to the State Ethics commission and the FPPC be in order? This sounds criminal to say the least!

  14. Thank you ECT for breaking the story. This story has gone viral! I have recieved email alerts from three different sources regarding this. Frazier really showed everyone his true nature and what a vindictive jerk he really is. Somehow I knew it all along.

  15. Someone needs to sit down with Assemblyman Frazier and give him a dose of reality. He should not be using his elected position to go after his wife. Someone has some explaining to do as it appears he is abusing his position.

  16. I am really sad that Jim is turning in to this person. We were always so proud of him. My kids even really like him. I don’t really know what he is doing in Sacramento but if he is doing something to hurt Janet or someone else in our community I am really disappointed in him. If this job has turned him in to this person then we should look at finding someone else to run for his seat. He was a good city councilman maybe he just can’t handle the pressure or the the power that goes with the job.

  17. I made this picture of what Frazier’s campaign site would look like if he had to comply with AB2855.

    I went to Jim’s site and used the inspect element feature in my browser to edit his code (on my computer only) to add in the requirements of the bill. Then I took a screen shot. Here is what his site would look like if that was forced on him.

    The parts that are marked “Broken” are because all I did was add in the required code.. but in doing that it pushed a lot of stuff down on the page and his site would need a re-build to fix the issues caused by the addition on such a large block of text at the top.

    I would be willing to bet most non-profits would need a global rebuild on their websites to accommodate the fact that that link is required to be put on every single page.

    http://i.imgur.com/3vzGHFK.png

Comments are closed.