Volunteers: The next Markell target

March 13, 2014

James Madison wrote: “It will be of little avail to the people if laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

Gov. Jack Markell has envisioned a gold rush after pillaging our treasury with bad investments. In reaction, he’s enlisted his Attorney General (who has his own aspirations)  and his sycophants in the Legislature to inundate us with a multitude of “feel good” propositions. One of the worst I’ve seen thus far is HB187, penned by his go-to guy in the Legislature: Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark South. Kowalko was then joined by Rep. Osienski, D-Newark, Rep. Keeley, D-Wilmington, Sen. Townsend, D-Newark, and Sen. Sokola, D, Newark. Perhaps you can see a pattern there.

Kowalko is noted for his harebrained ideas and love of expanding government, but this time his true colors show. Under the guise of “ending the scams discovered under the slot machines issue,” his proposal now will effectively shut down any and all community volunteer groups from fire company dinners, to memorial services, to Girl Scouts selling cookies in front of WalMart.

As any thief trying to scam you, his preface is to exclude any fundraiser making under $50,000, but if you buy off on that, you’d better stop reading the rest of the bill.  There’s a little conjunction “or” stuck in there after that part. Sounding as if it intends to monitor 501c(3) and 501c(6) organizations, it states that “anyone” raising funds will be subject to felony charges if the law is not followed.

Forget the fact that these organizations already have federal guidelines and are required to keep meticulous records. This is aimed at anyone and everyone participating in a fundraising venture. If you solicit donations for someone who’s died, you will be required to pay for a “permit” to do so.  If you aren’t the sole member of the immediate family, you’ll be required to have written permission from all the others before you submit for your “permit”. You will then be required to record each person who’s donated and the amounts they gave. If, per chance, you raise over $50,000, you will be required to pay a portion of that to the state.  (Though there’s no mention of it, certainly there’s some bean counter who’ll require you to prove you didn’t raise over that amount in order to be exempt.)

National organizations coming to the state will have even more paperwork. Representatives of those groups will be required to be bonded and supply the records of any of their expenses, profits, or donations gained during their banquets and fundraisers.

There are no exemptions for “bake sales.”  Just by the inclusion of that “$50,000” anyone involved in the process will now attain fiduciary responsibility for the records keeping. The bill even states that you being unaware that it applies to you will not be an excuse and you will still be held accountable.

Volunteerism is always a tough sell and with this “recession” goaded on by the liberal taxation on the air we breathe, charities are having to scramble to continue their missions.  This bill is an egregious affront to those time-honored methods in America, and it’s just one more heavy handed approach to Big Brother having his fingers in everything you do in your daily lives.  Not only should this legislation be discarded, but the politicians who author them should be discarded as well. Markell has managed to push the state to the cusp of bankruptcy and under the guise of “for the people” is attempting to bankrupt each of us as well. The biggest scams in this state still tend to be foisted upon us by the very people we elect to represent us.

George Roof


  • A letter to the editor expresses a reader's opinion and, as such, is not reflective of the editorial opinions of this newspaper.

    To submit a letter to the editor for publishing, send an email to Letters must be signed and include a telephone number for verification. Please keep letters to 650 words or fewer.  We reserve the right to edit for content and length.