As we get to the end of the year, we wish all of you a happy and relaxing holiday season. It is also the season of giving, where we contribute to our favorite causes, often represented by charities we donate to. We often use the words non-profit organizations and charities interchangeably. However they are NOT the same.
In this post we go into the differences between nonprofits and also focus on a nonprofit (not charities) whose dealing with the City of Cupertino, and the use of our tax dollars raises serious questions.
The IRS has published guidelines describing the tax treatment for various kinds of nonprofits.
Cupertino Chamber of Commerce & the $16,000/year Ghost Contract
For as far as anyone in the City Offices can remember, the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce has been sending a bi-annual invoice for $8000 ($16,000 per year) to the City of Cupertino. Under normal business practices the invoices are paid by the City for services delivered under a contract agreed upon prior to the delivery of the services.
However, the City staff is unable to locate any such agreement or contract against which the Chamber of Commerce was invoicing the city and getting paid for many years! After further investigation, the City Council was informed that the payments were made under a verbal agreement which no-one can reproduce.
To summarize, there is:
City Elections & the Chamber of Commerce PAC
For many years, the city was paying $16,000 of our tax dollars, annually, without a locatable contract, to an organization which ran a PAC in support of city council candidates backed by the coterie of ex-mayors.
The Coterie of Mayors & Their Web of Influence
One challenge the residents face is that the coterie of ex-mayors have a well entrenched web of influence among local organizations which they have cultivated over the decades.
These networks have been built over the years via both soft favors like memberships in committees, endorsements & awards, and hard benefits, like the annual transfer of our tax-payer dollars to the Chamber of Commerce which then runs PACs to favor the coterie.
Please stay alert and continue acting as a watchdog to keep them in check.