Pallottine, Inc., the Baltimore-based charity whose fund-raising scandal inspired a new Maryland state law regulating charities, has asked for an exemption from that law.
The attempt request has been rejected - at least temporarily - by the assistant secretary of state, who said that the Pallotines had tried to appeal the law by citing the section that was tacked on by lawmakers precisely to cover the Baltimore charity.
"Sure, the law was intended to cover the Pallotines," said H. Stafford Bullen Jr., the assistant secretary of state. "In fact, if they (the state legislators) hadn't added the amendment mentioned in the appeal, the Pallottines would have been exempt."
The law in question requires certain charities to register with the state, submit an annual budget showing income and expenses, and follow state guidelines prohibiting expenditures of more than 25 per cent of contributions for administration costs. The rest is to go to the charitable cause of the organization.
Pallottine, Inc. - though an annual direct mailing of some 20 million letters to people who live outside of Maryland - raised enough money to invest $5 million in land deals in Florida and Maryland, three motels and a trailer park in Maryland and three tracts of residentally zoned land in Balitmore County.
The law's particular passage in question reads: "Every charitable organization located in this state which intends to solicit contributions within or without this state . . . shall . . . file a registration statement . . . "
The Baltimore attorney who wrote the appeal for Pallottine, Inc., quoted the law as reading: "Certain Charitable organizations which intend to solicit contributions within this state."
When reached in Philadelphia yesterday, Attorney Joseph M. More said the entire appeal was "a moot point. "Notwithstanding the appeal, we intended to comply anyway," he said.