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Bill would allow N.H. AG to keep monitoring trusts, nonprofits and sham charities

The state house dome, behind a statue and flag
Allegra Boverman

Lawmakers have reached a compromise on a bill that will allow the Attorney General’s Office to continue its close monitoring of charitable trusts and nonprofits, including sham charities.

Under the latest changes to Senate Bill 302, the office’s Charitable Trusts Unit would be allowed to get the names of volunteer board members, officers, directors, registered agents, or incorporators of entities when a nonprofit or trust first files with the state.

And, the unit would be allowed to release the names of board members, directors, and other principals when it felt doing so was in the public interest. That could include identifying charities that had swindled donors.

As introduced, SB 302 would have made much of that information harder for the state to get and share publicly.

Diane Murphy Quinlan, assistant director of the Charitable Trusts Unit, told lawmakers earlier this year that waiting for information to appear in an annual report, as the bill initially required, would jeopardize the unit’s ability to identify concerns or risks to the public early on.

Quinlan said in an interview that the office opposed earlier versions of the bill but is taking no position on the proposed compromise going before lawmakers Thursday.

If the bill passes and is signed by the governor, the unit will have to change the way it requests information from charitable organizations and trusts. Rather than make informal requests, as it does now, the unit will have to issue a formal notice by registered mail at least 14 days before the information is due.

New Hampshire Bulletin is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Hampshire Bulletin maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Dana Wormald for questions: Follow New Hampshire Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter.

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