Senate oversight hearing will review why millions in charitable donations went unused

Sen. Bob Hertzberg hearing to begin at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9

December 7, 2015

LOS ANGELES – Sen. Bob Hertzberg is convening an oversight hearing Wednesday to find out why millions of dollars in charitable donations by California taxpayers sat unspent in government accounts last year.

“This is unacceptable,” said Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance. “People expect their money to be spent for these important purposes and bureaucratic delays send absolutely the wrong message to those who made donations in good faith.”

Hertzberg’s hearing follows a recent investigation by the Associated Press into a decade of financial records for 29 funds that collected $35 million since 2005. The money was donated by Californians when they filed their tax returns and was supposed to go for causes such as cancer research and protecting our coast and oceans.

Beyond at least $10 million that AP said was unspent, some donations ended up back in state general coffers, according to the wire service, citing state records. For example, $278,000 donated for asthma and lung disease research reverted to the state treasury because the distributing agency didn’t put them to use, according to AP.

During the hearing, stakeholders in the management of tax check-off funds will review financial and funding procedures. Joining Hertzberg will be representatives for several state agencies involved in handling tax check-off funds. 

  • WHO: Committee chair Sen. Bob Hertzberg and fellow committee member Sen. John M.W. Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. Other witnesses include:
    •  Gail Hall of the state Franchise Tax Board, who will discuss the collection process for tax check-offs;
    • Evan Goldberg of the state Controller’s Office, who will provide information on money processes;
    • Benito Delgado-Olson, executive director of K to College, (a nonprofit group that uses check-off funds to buy school supplies for homeless children), who will discuss obstacles posed by the tax check-off bureaucracy;
    • Dr. Marion Kavanaugh-Lynch, director of the University of California Breast Cancer Research Program, who will discuss best practices when administering a tax check-off program;
    • Hedi Jalon, executive director of the California Fire Foundation, who will discuss how to maximize use of tax check-off funds; and
    • Representatives from the departments of Education and Public Health, who will discuss how donations fell through the cracks and what can be done to prevent future losses;
  • WHAT: A hearing examining the use of tax check-off funds. 
  • WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015.
  • WHERE: The California Endowment, 1000 N. Alameda St., Mojave Room, Los Angeles, CA  90012.
  • WHY: To ensure the responsible use of taxpayers donations and streamline the tax check-off process.   

NEWS YOU CAN USE: To read the Associate Press article dated Aug. 27, 2015, titled “Chairman Promises Review of Unspent Charity,” go to

SPECIAL NOTE: This hearing is open to the public and is viewable via live stream on the Senate homepage. To view live, go to and click on ‘Livestreams’ at the top-left corner of the page. Another option would be to click HERE:


For more, visit Hertzberg’s Web site at the address below.

Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map HERE or at  After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. More HERE or at


Communications Director
Sen. Bob Hertzberg, Senate District 18
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, Calif. 95814
(916) 651-4018 office; 916 834-1128 cell