Private nonprofit corporations: Tough to define

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Rick Cohen of the Nonprofit Quarterly, who blogs on the intersection of nonprofs, politics and policy, asks the question: “When is a nonprofit organization sort of like a public agency for the purpose of levels of transparency and disclosure beyond what all nonprofits (above a specific threshold annual revenue level) provide to the Internal Revenue Service in their Form 990s?” The New Hampshire State Supreme Court recently ruled unanimously that nonprofit quasi-public corporations, such as the Local Government Center in Concord (providing advocacy support for municipal governments) are subject to that state’s Right to Know, or “sunshine,” law, reports the Nashua Telegraph. A justice wrote that while the Center’s workers aren’t public employees in a strict sense, their wages are paid mainly by tax dollars and much of their work is to benefit taxpayers. But the New Hampshire House just voted down legislation would have defined nonprofits as public agencies if they generated more than $100,000 in annual revenue and received at least half their funding from the state or local government, according to the Eagle Tribune.

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