Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Bob Cooper authored an opinion piece in The Chronicle of Philanthropy discussing the challenges facing state regulators in policing charity fraud. The article uses the case filed against Cancer Fund of America and three related charities in May 2015 as an example. The cancer-charity fraud case is unique in that all 50 states and the Federal Trade Commission have joined together in a lawsuit for the first time. As former attorney general of Tennessee, a position he held from 2006-2014, Bob offers his perspective as to the significance of this milestone case. As reported in the article, "[s]tate attorneys general frequently collaborate on enforcing consumer protection, false claims, and antitrust laws ... but in the nonprofit area, while many states have strong individual traditions of enforcement, broad collective action has been absent, at least until now."
In the article, Bob describes three long-standing obstacles to state enforcement action against nonprofit entities:
- Diffusion of nonprofit enforcement authority within the states.
- Financial challenges in funding enforcement.
- Difficulty in proving fraudulent solicitation.
The full article, "Why Taking Legal Action Against Charity Fraud Is So Hard," was published by The Chronicle of Philanthropy on July 23, 2015 and is available online.