OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5298

AN ACT CONCERNING FUNDRAISING BY VETERANS' ORGANIZATIONS.

SUMMARY:

This bill prohibits any person, firm, or corporation from holding itself out to be a veterans' charitable organization and, with the intent to defraud, soliciting charitable contributions that benefit or profit any person, firm, or corporation other than the veterans' charitable organization. A violation is a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to three months' imprisonment, up to a $ 500 fine, or both.

The bill defines "veterans' charitable organization" as any person, firm, or corporation that is or holds itself out to be established for any benevolent, educational, philanthropic, humane, scientific, patriotic, social welfare, or advocacy purpose relating to or on behalf of veterans.

The bill also requires the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) commissioner to publish a list of preferred charitable nonprofit corporations meeting specified criteria. She must do this within available funds and in consultation with the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) commissioner by July 1, 2013.

The DVA commissioner must publish the list on the department's informational Internet website page.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

DVA PREFERRED CHARITABLE NONPROFIT CORPORATIONS LIST

Listing Criteria

The bill requires the DVA commissioner to compile and publish a list of veterans-related nonprofit corporations. She may include a corporation on the list if it was incorporated as a nonstock corporation for any benevolent, educational, philanthropic, humane, scientific, patriotic, social welfare, or advocacy purpose relating to or on behalf of veterans.

In compiling the list, the DVA and DCP commissioners must consider:

1. charity accountability standards,

2. the ratio of charitable activity expenditures to fundraising and administrative expenditures,

3. violations of the state Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act and corresponding regulations, and

4. any information the nonprofit corporation provided the DVA.

Publication

The list must be published on the website DVA must maintain regarding veterans' benefits, services, and programs and include the following disclaimer: "This list is prepared for the public solely for the purpose of information. The State of Connecticut provides no warranty about the content or accuracy of the content herein. "

Inclusion on the List

Under the bill, nonprofit corporations may apply to the DVA commissioner for inclusion on the list of preferred charitable nonprofit corporations by submitting information to DVA regarding their nonprofit activities on a form the commissioner creates. The commissioner may require any additional information she deems necessary to determine whether a nonprofit corporation should be included on the list.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Select Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Joint Favorable Substitute Change of Reference

Yea

9

Nay

0

(03/08/2012)

Commerce Committee

Joint Favorable Change of Reference

Yea

18

Nay

0

(03/22/2012)

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

45

Nay

0

(04/02/2012)