State attorneys general are at the forefront of protecting charitable assets and ensuring their lawful and intended use in the public interest.  State attorneys general are tasked with investigating and, when necessary, initiating legal actions against charitable organizations; overseeing nonprofits during mergers, conversions and acquisitions; and reviewing actions taken by executors and trustees where a will or trust contains a charitable gift.

In order to foster a comprehensive approach by state attorneys general in their supervisory responsibilities over nonprofit organizations, the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School created the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project ("Charities Project"). Developed and led by Cindy M. Lott, the Charities Project was the oldest and most comprehensive initiative of the Program.


Urban Institute-Charities Regulation and Oversight Project Report on State Charities Regulation and Enforcement

Sept. 13, 2016 - In conjunction with the National State Attorneys General Program’s Charities Regulation and Oversight Project ("Charities Project"), and through the generous of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy released a much anticipated report on the state of state-level charities oversight. Led by former Charities Project Founder and Director Cindy M. Lott, who also serves as Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, the team of researchers undertook a comprehensive state by state analysis of the regulatory landscape of the charitable sector, including jurisdiction, capacity, and regulatory/enforcement methods and outcomes. The research project consisted of three major investigative components: 1) state-specific background legal research regarding regulation and enforcement of the charitable sector within that state; 2) survey questions submitted to representatives within the respective state agencies overseeing charities enforcement; and 3) follow-up interviews with state regulators. Although states, working both independently and in conjunction with the IRS, play a large role in regulating the charitable sector, very little data exists on the actual practices of, and resources for the state regulators. 

From the Tierney Blog

For additional resources on charities see the Charities section of the National State Attorneys General Program (AGP) archive: