Vermont Senate Tables Donor Anonymity Bill

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(Host) The Senate has tabled a bill that would allow donors to the University of Vermont and state colleges to remain anonymous.

Supporters of the legislation said the privacy safeguards were needed in order for the schools to get financial support. But opponents argued that donors could hide behind their anonymity and wield undue influence at the institutions.

Governor Jim Douglas said he thought the legislation made sense. He said UVM and the state colleges need flexibility in fundraising.

(Douglas) "The state doesn’t give as much as I would like or as I have recommended in some years, and certainly not as much as about 47 or 48 other states do. And now we’re going to say you can’t accept as much contributions that come your way because of restrictions on anonymity?"

(Host) University spokesman Enrique Corredera said the school has allowed donors to remain anonymous in the past if they requested it. But he said the guarantee of privacy for donors is not specifically found in state law.

(Corredera) "So there is the potential that a donor out there – in the absence of that expressed language and protection – may hesitate to move forward with a potential donation to the institution."

(Host) The confidentiality provision would not apply to those who do more than $10,000 worth of business with the school.

Supporters of the measure said they would try again to get it passed.

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