NYS Seal Contact: Charles Carrier
(518) 455-3888
For Immediate Release:
October 19, 2001
Assembly Plans Hearings on Management and Disbursement of Charitable Contributions for Terror Attack Victims

Attorney General Spitzer and Others to Testify

In an effort to ensure that the hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable contributions donated to help victims of the September 11 terror attacks are managed and disbursed appropriately, legislative hearings will be convened by the State Assembly next month, Speaker Sheldon Silver said today.

"Generous individuals, companies and other groups from New York City and throughout our state, our country and all over the world have opened up their hearts and made contributions to victims of the World Trade Center attack," Silver said. "We owe it to victims and contributors to see that all who need help receive it, and that funds are directed as the donors intended."

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer praised the Assembly for holding the hearings and said: "Coordinating disaster relief is a monumental task. With hundreds of organizations involved and almost a billion dollars raised, it is imperative that charities cooperate as never before. These hearings will be very helpful in identifying the critical areas where charities can improve delivery of services and expand cooperation in meeting victims' needs."

"With so many groups collecting contributions and so much money raised, this is the largest single charitable effort in the history of our state," noted Assembly Government Operations Committee Chair RoAnn Destito (D-Utica), who will co-chair the hearings. "We look forward to testimony from Attorney General Spitzer and others on how best to manage this unprecedented effort."

"The lives and livelihoods of thousands of individuals in New York City and beyond have been disrupted by the September 11 terror attacks, and we want to see that everyone receives the assistance they need," said Assembly Oversight, Analysis and Investigation Committee Chair Scott Stringer (D-Manhattan), who will also co-chair the hearings. "We believe that we can achieve that goal by working to determine how much money has been raised, fostering cooperation between charitable organizations and government agencies and using the most advanced information technology tools to coordinate relief for victims."

Assembly Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) noted that the governor has proposed legislation that would tighten reporting requirements for charities and facilitate prosecution of reporting errors and other violations. "While all charitable groups should be held to a high standard, we want to make sure that any new legislation does not place an unfair burden on smaller charities," Lentol said.

Assembly Judiciary Committee Chair Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn) said that New York's elected officials have a responsibility to provide for the tragedy's victims. "As legislators we have an obligation to represent the interests of those who cannot speak for themselves. Assuring that the victims and their families receive the help they need is my top priority," Weinstein said.

Hearing dates and locations will be announced shortly.


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