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State AG asks nonprofits to detail Sandy fundraising efforts

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— New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters today to at least 75 nonprofits asking them to disclose their fundraising and relief efforts for Superstorm Sandy victims.

The attorney general’s office Charities Bureau plans to compile the information and report it online in an effort to improve transparency and donor confidence.

“In light of the importance of the recovery efforts, and the enormous amount of money raised in such a short period of time, it is critical that donors know where their money is going, and that funds are spent responsibly,” Schneiderman said. “In the name of transparency and accountability, we must ensure that funds raised for Hurricane Sandy relief are used for that purpose.”

Letters to more nonprofits are expected.

The letters request email responses by Dec. 11 detailing amounts raised and spent so far and whether donations will be used solely for storm relief. They also request information about services provided to victims, funds forwarded to other organizations, plans for any surplus and direct grants to individuals, families or businesses.

The nonprofits range from the American Red Cross and the AARP Foundation to We Care NYC and Staten Island Strong.

The attorney general’s office didn’t have an immediate estimate on how much has been raised.

“In the coming weeks and months, we expect to reach out to you for additional information, including more detailed information about how donations have been expended and the steps taken to prevent fraud and/or misuse of resources,” wrote Jason Lilien, chief of the Charities Bureau.

The agency so far has logged only a small number of complaints about storm-related charities, which it is looking into. It is responsible for overseeing charitable activities and fundraising in New York.



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