Attorney General Becerra Releases Guide for Charities
Webinar on Guide Next Tuesday, December 5, at 3:00 PM (PT)
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today released a Guide for Charities, which provides best practices for charitable organizations and fundraising professionals that operate in California. The Attorney General has the primary responsibility for supervising charities and professional fundraisers who solicit on their behalf. Under Government Code section 12580 et seq., the Attorney General may investigate and bring legal actions against charities and fundraisers that misuse charitable assets or engage in fraudulent fundraising practices.
“Day in and day out, charities in California provide important services in our communities – from scholarships for our future leaders to health programs for our veterans,” said Attorney General Becerra. “As the chief law enforcement officer in the State, I am committed to ensuring that these organizations – and all others who are thinking of operating in California – have the tools they need to make sure they comply with our State’s laws. This Guide for Charities serves that very purpose. I will continue to work with those who help our communities move forward, but will go after unscrupulous individuals who violate our laws and take advantage of the kindness of Californians.”
The Attorney General’s Office will be hosting a webinar next Tuesday, December 5 at 3:00 PM (PT) to walk people through the Guide for Charities and to answer questions. The webinar will be live here: https://oag.ca.gov/charities/guide-live
Charities represent an important economic sector in California. At any given time, there are approximately 135,000 charitable organizations registered with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. In 2017, these registered charities reported total revenues of over $236 billion and total assets of almost $905 billion. A central aspect of being a charitable organization is to benefit a significant segment of the community, rather than serving the interests of specific, private individuals. Because charities provide public benefits, they are granted special legal status and privileges not available to for-profit enterprises. In exchange for being tax-exempt, charities have important fiduciary obligations and mandatory reporting requirements.
Since taking office, Attorney General Becerra has been committed to protecting charitable assets and donors. He has filed a civil lawsuit seeking to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars from Wounded Warriors Support Group and Central Coast Equine Rescue and Retirement, two California charities claiming to support veterans; announced a stipulated final judgment so that People’s Choice Charities, a Los Angeles-based car donation charity accused of soliciting vehicle donations using false and misleading advertising, would be dissolved; and issued a Cease and Desist order that forced the closure of Saving Spot Rescue and Spot Rescue, two charities that were misleading people who wanted to help animals in need.
A copy of the Guide for Charities is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.