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A Thought

Was doing some light reading today, and I stumbled upon this gem in the ASUO Senate rules regarding fee allocations [12.5(a)(M)]:

At no time may incidental fee monies be donated to a charitable cause.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, how has OSPIRG gotten around this rule? I am honestly curious, because as it seems to me, this rule would make OSPIRG exempt from receiving money.

Peanut gallery?

  1. “gem in the ASUO Senate rules” is a contradiction in terms.

  2. Lyzi Diamond says:

    OSPIRG is not currently funded on campus, so it’s not really an issue. But Senate has to approve the ACFC’s budget before it ends up anywhere higher up the chain, so they are ostensibly held responsible for all contracts.

    But again, it’s not an issue, cos OSPIRG is not receiving funds.

  3. Wasted Money on Law School says:

    “The legal definition of donation is voluntarily transferring something of value WITHOUT consideration – there’s no expectation of quid pro quo.”

    Wrong, that is a gift. A donation may have certain expectations. While not a “quid pro quo” such expectations often have enormous legal consequences. Here is a real dumbed down example:

    If I give $ to the Ronald McDonald House with the purpose of donating to a charity and they spend it all on buying the hamburgler a new costume, they would be liable for fraud and tax evasion. However, if I give $ to Ronald McDonald, without consideration or care of its later use and he spends it on costumes, I would have no recourse. That is a gift.

    Donations are also frequently intertwined with Contracts. (See King v. Trustees of Boston College) Also, Curtis, use some common sense. How do you think Warren Buffet gave billions to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation? Cash and a some scribbles on a napkin?

    George is also flat out wrong. Here is a quote from the IRS website, “Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are commonly referred to as charitable organizations. Organizations described in section 501(c)(3), other than testing for public safety organizations, are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with Code section 170.” (,,id=96099,00.html).

    There could be legitimate grounds for filing a complaint against those who fund OSPIRG, which by its own tax status appears to be a charity. However, those are Senate Rules, which may only be binding (as non-fulfillment) against the Senate. Are there any other bans on charitable donations elsewhere in the GTN?

  4. George says:

    Charitable non-profit is listed under section 509(a) not 501(c) of the IRS code.,,id=137609,00.html

  5. monalisasmiles says:

    I thought OSPIRG called themselves lobbyists in the public interest or something. Why are they a 501 non-profit? Or, I should say, how?? Is this for tax purposes? OSPIRG is just too…shady.

  6. Curtis says:

    The legal definition of donation is voluntarily transferring something of value WITHOUT consideration – there’s no expectation of quid pro quo.

    A contract on the other hand is when one party gives money in return for performance – which is why OSPIRG has line items and why the ASUO could probably technically sue them (or any other contracted service) for breach if they didn’t perform as expected.

    I’m not a lawyer, so take it for a grain of salt, but the legal act of donation is much different than the legal act of contract that constitutes OSPIRG’s (desired) relationship with the ASUO. OSPIRG has a legal obligation to performance, unlike with a donation

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