Food for the Poor’s response to news articles

July 5, 2018, 11:13 am

Clean water from a well – There are places in the world where that is a big deal; I’ve visited a few. Many charities, including those whose accounting is being criticized by the CA AG, are working to improve the lives of the least among us. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma provided the following response to the post earlier today discussing several news articles. I am pleased to print the comments, with permission of FFP. For ease of reading, the comments will not be put in quotations. 

FFP has another statement at their website which you can read here.

The FFP statement, which is in response to comments in the Boston Globe article:

 

Food For The Poor is troubled by recent news coverage suggesting that our non-profit organization is not transparent about how we operate. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The claim that we deliberately mislead donors is contradicted by the facts. The regulatory action brought by the California Attorney General does not suggest any wrongdoing on our part in the handling of donations or our daily operations. It is an accounting issue about how we value donated goods and we are challenging it.

The Attorney General’s office claims that we have over-valued our pharmaceuticals because we have used the United States as our principal market and have valued our pharmaceuticals at U.S. wholesale prices, rather than international prices related to the 17 countries we serve. However, almost all international nonprofit organizations that receive significant donated goods use the same industry-specific methodologies to value their donated pharmaceuticals in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) established by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).  In following those standards, we are required to value all of our donated goods in a fair and consistent manner and to declare that value as revenue in our financial statements.

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More articles discussing the California AG’s enforcement actions over medical GIK

July 5, 2018, 5:30 am

…What accounting rules sometime feel like.  Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Here are three more articles discussing the cease-and-desist orders issued by the California Attorney General against three large charities who have large amounts of donated medicine. Previous post discusses a few earlier articles.

Update:  Food for the Poor has provided a response to the Boston Globe article, which you may read here.

5/30/18 – editorial in Sun Sentinel – Food for the Poor controversy reveals need for nonprofit transparency – Editorial highlights that using US pricing compared to international pricing increases apparent efficiency.  The challenge, visible in the article, is that the charity claims 95% of all expenses are for program and the article says the California AG claims 66.7% of cash donations are used for program.

In a statement which should sober every accountant, CPA, auditor of NPOs, and staff of R&D charities, the editorial asks:

(S)uch accounting practices may be legal, and they may be the industry standard, but are they honest?

Let me paraphrase two questions embedded in that comment (yeah, CPAs actually talk that way – we look for embedded derivatives and embedded leases). The editorial is asking:

  • Is the industry standard consistent with GAAP?
  • Is either GAAP or the industry standard honest?

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Some additional news reports on the California AG’s enforcement actions

May 14, 2018, 5:00 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

There are a few recent articles discussing enforcement action by the California Attorney General regarding the accounting for donated medicine used by three national charities. Looks like the issue is beginning to get a bit wider attention than this teeny tiny little ol’ blog.

Inflated Expectations / What’s going on with foreign affairs nonprofit Food for the Poor? from Slate on May 10, 2018, provides a non-technical description of the issues raised by the California AG.

Good explanation of medicine valuation, near-term expiry, joint cost allocation, principal market, access, and materiality issues without ever using those words. Even hints at daisy chain and SFAS 136 agency transactions.

Let me suggest a couple of exercises for accountants in the audience.

First, read through the article another time identifying all the accounting issues touched upon. Think about that as an illustration of how to describe technical accounting issues without being technical. (Yeah, I know, what a crazy idea – explaining stuff so people will understand.)

Second exercise is to read through the article thinking about how non-accountants would respond to each of those ideas if it was the first time they had heard about it.

How many of those GAAP accounting treatments would actually make sense?

How many would seem flat-out silly to people who haven’t spent years working with accounting rules?

Description of one shipment

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Once again: The time left to clean up the valuation of GIK meds is running out.

May 10, 2018, 7:51 am

 

See that fire siren at the top of the city’s fire hall?

The whistle is so loud my ears hurt.

The fire is valuation of donated medicine.

The town is the non-profit community.

 

It is time to rerun my fire alarm commentary.

My previous post provided a technical description of regulators’ concerns over accounting for donated medicine in the not-for-profit world. This post provides a word picture of the current situation.

Originally posted way back on November 9, 2012, here is my six-year-old discussion with some minor changes:

 

 

There is a fire burning in the nonprofit community. The fire is the issue of valuing donated pharmaceuticals. Primarily issue is about mebendazole.  Albendazole and antibiotics are involved, but to a lesser degree. There are many alarm bells ringing. 

The loudest fire alarm went off yesterday.

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Regulators have serious problems with how the nonprofit community is accounting for donated medicine.

May 8, 2018, 1:25 pm

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

There is a serious problem in the nonprofit community in terms of accounting for donated medicine. Three major enforcement actions by various regulators tell us that the regulators have serious reservations about how charities are dealing with gifts-in-kind.

Those of us working in the charity world need to ponder what could be making so many regulators so concerned.

50 Attorneys General

The rumors in the wind mentioned in my next post were discussed in 2012.  That turned into a major enforcement action by the Federal Trade Commission and all 50 state Attorneys General against 4 cancer charities. (See my posts under the tag FTC.) That was in 2015.

I’m not aware of any followup by that group and I’ll guess the reason is the complexity of coordinating a 50+ member committee.

For the FTC and all 50 Attorneys General to all be on the same page on an issue should serve as a warning they believe there is a serious problem.

IRS

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Some details in the appeals filed by 3 charities

April 30, 2018, 12:44 pm

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

As mentioned previously, appeals have been filed by the three charities receiving cease & desist orders from the California A.G.

This discussion will highlight some comments in the appeals. Will have a few observation from an auditor perspective along the way. Might want to get a fresh cup of coffee before you dig in. This will be a long post.

Previous posts:

 

Catholic Medical Mission Board appeal

At seven pages, this appeal is a bit shorter than the others. The page count includes the proof of service and a cover sheet which is the page the AG provided to request an appeal.

In the appeal, CMMB denies all the factual allegations and conclusions of law (para 4). Specific assertions are listed for emphasis:

  • The AG is not properly interpreting GAAP.
  • Geographic restrictions on medicine do not make the US a prohibited market for valuation purposes.
  • Representations to California citizens are neither unfair nor deceptive.

In the appeal, CMMB requests:

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Three charities file appeal of California AG Cease and Desist order

April 13, 2018, 4:07 pm

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

With a deadline of April 11 to appeal cease and desist orders from the California Attorney General, MAP International, Food for the Poor, and Catholic Medical Mission Board each filed their appeal on the 10th or 11th.

You may find a PDF copy of the appeals and cease and desist orders at the AG’s website.

The individual appeals may be found at:

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