As bad as the news is, it doesn't usually keep me up all night. But something about Congress and the President of the U.S. stepping into a family's medical decisions and a State Court case gave me nightmares all night. Where does the current administration's sense of its own power end? Can it just rewrite the rules of law, ignore the separation of powers, and step in wherever it wants?
I'm referring to the Bush Administration's decision to use federal power to intervene in a state court issue - the Terri Schiavo case. (Yes, these are the Republicans we're talking about - the party of state's rights, small government, and no deficits - harrumph) While Congress and the President just stepped in over the weekend, the husband and parents in this family have been battling for years - with one set of those enormous legal bills being paid for by the same conservative foundations that underwrote the never-ending investigation of the Clintons. For more details on the money trail see bioethics.blog.
So, when you think about how change happens in the U.S, and where power is held, its useful to remember a few things: Follow the money. The rules of the game matter. Those who oppose the separation of Church and State have their own views of the separation of nonprofits and politics, and those views do NOT include the separation of money and power. Keep these ideas in mind as this same Congress rewrites the rules for nonprofits and foundations - the nonprofit reform movement now underway in the Senate Finance Committee. As these "reform" efforts unfold I strongly urge all involved in philanthropy to follow the money and keep their eyes on the rulebook. The future of the game is on the line.