By: Diane Benjamin
From the bottom of the Sister Cities website: http://www.bnsistercities.org/
When I FOIA’d the names of people who went on the trip, I got a list of names. Hand written on the sheet is:
Since I didn’t FOIA donations, I wondered why they would give me that list and why these people would donate at all. Donations are obviously different from the people who went on the trip.
Unless – these people made tax-deductible donations for the cost of the trip. We know the City paid for the trip. We don’t know if the total cost was ever paid by the people who went and if they plan on taking a tax deduction for it. I suggest they don’t!
Under IRS rules, that would be an illegal deduction. Deductions must be decreased by the value received for donating. If the plan was to get a tax-deductible trip, they need to re-think that plan.
This is the entire list a received by FOIA: Donations
The total is almost $63,000, not enough to cover the costs paid by the City.
Since I do not have a list of the people who took the trip, I have people attempting to match the names on the “donations” list to the pics on the Sister Cities Facebook page: