Injured Police Officers Fund, the legitimate Las Vegas-based charity that funnels financial aid to families of fallen cops in southern Nevada, has taken a major step toward transparency and accountability. In its latest public IRS tax return filing, IPOF revealed for the first time the total amount of contributions received on condition the money quickly went to specifically designated officers. As it turns out, that amount dwarfed the total sum listed as being distributed out of general contributions.
The fuller picture had the beneficial impact of significantly improving a key measure of financial efficiency for IPOF, a potential draw for future donors. Moreover, the new data will help distinguish IPOF from the many illegitimate law enforcement-themed organizations that fraudulently–fraudulently, I say!–seek funds from the Nevada public (and elsewhere). Here in Las Vegas, at least, these outfits have been greatly aided by regulators who don’t enforce disclosure and other laws already on the books.
IPOF’s revelation came after several years of hectoring by me from the New To Las Vegas world headquarters about the charity’s seemingly poor financial efficiency in one important measure and a general lack of transparency. IPOF previously had pleaded individual officer privacy in not revealing the total amount of designated contributions or distributions (the numbers are the same). To me–a national journalist who has been writing about charities, their filings and financial efficiencies for decades–a specific section on the IRS tax return mandated disclosure of this very information. I perceived that the donating public was not seeing the entire picture.
Besides posting here about these issues concerning IPOF, I first pressed these matters more than two years in an interview with Chelsea Stuenkel, IPOF’s then-new president and an officer (sergeant then, lieutenant now) with the Nevada Department of Public Safety. It took a little while, but, as she recently wrote me, “We have in fact changed the way we are reporting specific donations this year after our discussion.” Continue reading