Rep. George Santos, the New York Republican whose 2022 election to the House of Representatives             flipped a seat previously held by a Democrat, faces pressure to resign for having reportedly lied                 extensively about his education, employment history, and religious heritage. He also faces                         allegations that he may have participated in financial fraud.

            When Santos apologized for having “embellished” his resume, he also said, “We do stupid things in             life.”

            Because I’m a nonprofit accounting scholar, what has really caught my eye are the reports that                 Santos fabricated a charity. On an early version of his campaign website, the freshman lawmaker             claimed to have founded and run what has been alleged to be a fake nonprofit animal rescue                     group called Friends of Pets United.

            Santos says the group rescued 2,400 dogs and 280 cats and that it trapped, neutered, and released             over 3,000 cats from 2013 to 2018. Trouble is, there’s no evidence that has been presented                         publicly showing the charity ever existed.

            As media outlets have reported, Friends of Pets United has no websiteThere’s no record of the                 Internal Revenue Service granting the organization nonprofit status or of a group by that name                 annually filing the required paperwork with the IRS. And it is further alleged that a fundraising                 event he held with another New Jersey animal rescue group never received any of the funds it was             promised.

Anyway, one element that should be considered to help donors with an inkling of concern about a possible gift: who is the board.  If nonprofits have nothing else consistent between them it is that they have a board and if that board is doing its job and is not otherwise on the take, there are possibilities that help for the donor is on the way.  Of course, when evaluating to try to have confidence that the nonprofit is legit, I do a quick review of the board names.  If they are all family, with the possible exception of a family foundation which doesn't need donors to begin with, I get suspicious.  Close friends are eyebrow raising.  A clue?  Not always easy to search out but for my money, a necessary research activity.