Speed Reads


Report: Some nonprofits make millions, hardly donate to charity

The Kanye West Foundation and the NFL are just some of the tax-exempt organizations that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says are exploiting the system and driving up rates for the rest of us. Known on Capitol Hill for his annual "Wastebook," which documents wasteful federal spending, Coburn is set to release a 300-page report detailing hundreds of tax breaks and calling for loopholes to be closed.

Our 9,000-page tax code is full of special giveaways and loopholes that companies are able to exploit. To better illustrate this point, BuzzFeed provides a list of examples of organizations and celebrities taking advantage of the system:

The Kanye West Foundation, which was founded to help teen dropouts, spent $553,826 in 2009 on salaries, travel, and other administrative expenses. Only $573 actually went to charity. The charity closed mysteriously in 2011.

The Wyclef Jean Foundation paid the singer $100,000 to perform at his own benefit concert. Jean has defended the integrity of his charitable work. The charity is now defunct. [BuzzFeed]

It's not just celebrity charities: The PGA Tour and the NFL are both granted tax-exempt status, despite the fact that they both make millions of dollars a year, BuzzFeed notes. Roger Goodell, the NFL's commissioner, earned $44 million in 2013.

Coburn, who is set to retire at the end of the year, says he hopes the report will serve as a blueprint for his colleagues to revamp the tax code after he's gone. But the chances of that happening may be unlikely: Just last week, the House voted easily (378-46) to extend nearly four dozen special breaks for another year.