General Ramblings: Leave Me Alone

September 1, 2009       Paul Clolery      

It appears that getting off a phone or email list of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine is like trying to scrape gum off the bottom of your shoe. Somehow, it never quite goes away no matter what you do.

The campaign and state Democratic Party are involved in a pattern of abusive direct response practices that just might lose them a few voters. Corzine probably could care less about the potential of annoying donors since he can personally underwrite the campaign.

The governor’s people probably got my name and email from another progressive list. Now, the campaign keeps sending emails despite repeated requests to unsubscribe. Oh, they have an unsubscribe message on all of their emails. But, it is never highlighted. The email reads: “click here to unsubscribe” and you can’t click. Wouldn’t you know, when you want someone to give you the finger, they don’t.

That’s called SPAM in most polite circles. You can’t respond to the email asking to be unsubscribed. It bounces back and lets you know that the message did not get through. Even reporting the emails as SPAM have not stopped them.

There’s a pattern emerging. Here’s more. There are the routine calls to my cell phone asking me to volunteer. The past three times I have asked the person to remove me from the call sheet. With each subsequent call I tell the person, “I told the last person to take me off the list.” The past two people have responded with something like, “you never told me,”as if that made all the difference in the world. The similarity of the response is curious. Are they training people to keep calling no matter what the response?

If you are running for office, isn’t annoying a potential voter and wasting their cell minutes the wrong way to go about it? Being double-digits down in the polls, Corzine and his staff should be rethinking the campaign’s direct response strategy.

*** The good folks at accounting and consulting firm Eisner LLP have pointed out that a new bill is working its way through Congress that could positively impact a charity’s balance sheet.

If enacted, H.R. 3497 would add a special rule for securities and commodities acquired by partnerships in which a tax-exempt entity is a partner with limited liability. It would allow U.S. tax-exempts to invest in domestic funds and avoid unrelated business taxable income (UBTI).

According to the Eisner experts, “In the case of any organization which is a partner with limited liability in a partnership, the term ‘acquisition indebtedness’ would not include indebtedness incurred by such partnership in purchasing or carrying any qualified security or commodity. A qualified security or commodity would be those securities defined in IRC Section 475. Most of the typical securities that a fund purchases would be included in this definition.”

This is optimistic news for tax-exempts that are looking to park money anyplace but on Wall Street. It also prevents the need for the largest nonprofits to park their cash off-shore.

Keep an eye on this legislation. It might be something you’ll want to vigorously support. NPT