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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, August 21

Name dropping

You wouldn’t think Bette Midler and the Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church on Circular Street would ever make it into the same conversation with former Arizona Congresswoman Gabriele Giffords, but last week that’s just what happened. 

Earlier this summer, the Bette Midler Family Foundation had its $10,000 check returned and the Spa City church got its $250 check back.

“It was a surprise,” said Julie Campbell, office manager for the PNECC, saying there wasn’t a lot of explanation about why the church’s contribution was rejected. 

The CPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news agency based in Washington, D.C. 

They reported last week that Midler’s family foundation, the church and another family organization all had their money returned because 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations are not permitted to contribute money to political action committees.  

“These are not illegal contributions for us to take, but it’s our understanding that the donations are not appropriate for the donors to make,” Americans for Responsible Solutions Communication Director Katie Hill told the CPI via email. “Thus, we are processing refunds, which will be disclosed on our next report.”

Campbell said the church was not aware of restrictions in donating to PACs when their Social Concerns Committee decided to make the contribution. 

She said the PNECC would be sending their $250 elsewhere. 

“There is always good use for it,” she said. 

CPI reported that Midler (also known as The Divine Miss M, according to that most reputable source Wikipedia) opted to cut a $10,000 personal check to Americans for Responsible Solutions, thereby alleviating the problem.

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