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Team ACA punts on disclosure policy

Team ACA punts on disclosure policyAt a board meeting held to establish its policies on disclosure of the businesses that contribute money, Team ACA said its policy would simply be to comply with all legal requirements, though it’s unclear whether the identities of contributors would be open to the public.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, that means Team ACA won’t have to disclose the identities of its contributors. An IRS official said tax-exempt organizations such as Team ACA must disclose all contributions above $5,000 to the federal government, but not to the public.

Team ACA Vice Chairman Ed Zito, however, said the organization’s understanding is that members of the public will be able to request that information from the IRS.

“We decided that when we file our form 990, and per that regulation, our donors, as required, will be disclosed,” Zito said, referring to the annual tax form that nonprofit organizations must file. “Whatever the requirement is in conjunction with filing form 990, we intend to comply with it.”

Unless that information is available from the IRS, members of the public may still have little insight into who is giving money to an organization that has covered nearly $200,000 in Arizona Commerce Authority expenses, including about half of the CEO’s salary.

Team ACA, the private nonprofit corporation founded to assist the Arizona Commerce Authority, discussed its disclosure policies at an Oct. 15 board meeting.

Zito said the board did not have an opportunity to decide on a proposal by Executive Director Don Cardon to prohibit contributions from companies that receive money from the Commerce Authority’s $25 million deal-closing fund because the meeting was cut short.  But he said the organization has informally agreed to such a policy, and said both the Team ACA board and the Commerce Authority are committed to avoiding such conflicts of interest.  The board will address that at a future meeting.

Team ACA has disclosed some of its contributors. Cardon and Zito said the organization received a three-year, $600,000 commitment from Alliance Bank of Arizona and Apollo Group.

They said the board largely consists of representatives from companies who contributed to Team ACA. Zito, for example, is president of Alliance Bank of Arizona.

Serena Unrein, of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group, an open government advocacy group, said Team ACA should adopt policies requiring disclosure, regardless of whether the law requires it.

“Team ACA should clearly state in its policies that they’ll disclose who is contributing to them when that money is going to Commerce Authority,” Unrein said.

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