Does it matter why someone contributes to a charity? If the result is support for cancer research or more Toys for Tots at Christmas, do we second-guess the donor's or fundraiser's motives? For the most part we don't. We take the money because it supports a social benefit that more than compensates for whatever unattractive thing might be at the root of the gift. We also want to avoid offending donors with any suggestion that they don't share our charitable goals. It's easier that way.
Recent stories out of Washington suggest that doing the easy thing may not serve the
That's true, but does that mean charities should start turning down freely given donations? As the IRS is fond of saying, that depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. But charities should certainly start looking at their own dealings with outsiders to ensure that the donations they accept are supporting good works rather than serving selfish interests.