Washington (April 8, 2004) -- Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Committee on Finance, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., ranking member, have expanded their ongoing review of charities' governance to include the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.

The senators' action came after media reports described the lack of movement from the foundation and the National Park Service to improve the statue and offer adequate public access after the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy.

"For months, the Finance Committee has been reviewing the financial practices and accountability to donors of charities and private foundations," Grassley said. "We've seen a pattern of these groups sitting on huge endowments, paying executives six-figure salaries, and spending relative pennies on their stated missions. Some of these foundations seem to exist only to perpetuate themselves. Unfortunately, it looks like the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation might be in that category."

Noting that the Capitol and the Washington Monument, as well as a number of other monuments, have been reopened since Sept. 11, 2001, with additional security precautions in place, while the Statue of Liberty has not, Baucus said, "I'm very concerned by reports that are surfacing that it was the foundation's fiscal mismanagement, rather than overarching security concerns, that have caused the delay."

The senators are working to advance reforms of vehicle and intellectual property donations through their foreign sales corporation/extraterritorial income act bill, which is pending before the full Senate. They plan to develop additional legislative reform proposals on charitable giving and accountability as needed.

-- WebCPA staff

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