PhilanthropyI found Pablo Eisenberg's harsh attack on...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 03, 1992

Philanthropy

I found Pablo Eisenberg's harsh attack on Baltimore's Weinberg Foundation to be intemperate and poorly reasoned ("Accountability and the Weinberg Foundation," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 22). His crude, personal smears of the late Mr. Weinberg have no place in civilized discourse and must be deeply offensive to the Weinberg family.

Mr. Eisenberg's main complaint is that the late Harry Weinberg had very specific ideas about how his wealth was to be distributed after his death.

He apparently wanted his foundation to serve primarily the Jewish community, so he stipulated that the trustees of his foundation must be Jewish, and they must be "in good standing" with a synagogue.

Despite Mr. Eisenberg's protests, the fact is that Mr. Weinberg had every right to do what he could to assure that his wealth would be spent how he wanted it to be spent after his death.

Freedom of association and the right to private property are still among America's most cherished human rights. There is nothing at all wrong with requiring a charity's trustees to be Jewish -- or Catholic, Muslim, Protestant or whatever.

Mr. Eisenberg's "Center for Community Change" is a well-known left-wing political activist organization. That's fine. He has every right to advocate whatever political causes he wants to.

But under the guise of "responsible philanthropy," he is waging a campaign to divert charity funding away from the programs that provide assistance to individuals in need and to use the money to finance his political activism.

If Mr. Weinberg and other philanthropists who have been the targets of Mr. Eisenberg's attacks intended his wealth to be used to finance Mr. Eisenberg's politics, they would have allowed for it in their wills

Mr. Eisenberg is apparently unable to raise sufficient voluntary donations to finance his political agenda, so he is attempting to enlist the Internal Revenue Service in his crusade against genuine, voluntary, private charity.

If anyone should be investigated by the IRS it is the Center for Community Change, which comes awfully close to violating the federal government's restrictions on political advocacy by 501(C) (3) nonprofit organizations.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Baltimore

The writer is professor of economics at Loyola College.

Campaign Reform

In addition to rejuvenating our economy, this country must eventually take on two very different projects: reduction of our national debt and the reform of Congress.

J. Peter Grace has been trying for years to get Congress to reduce government waste and has published a number of reports through his Citizens Against Government Waste organization. They enumerate ways of cutting government spending by the billions.

Many, of course, involve stepping on the toes of certain special-interest groups. Thus, very little has been accomplished.

Several years ago, the Heritage Foundation published an eye-opening book, "The Imperial Congress," but it did not get widespread distribution. More recently, Martin L. Gross has published an even more revealing book, "The Government Racket." This should be required reading for everyone of voting age.

Common Cause is currently conducting an anti-corruption campaign to lobby for reform of campaign financing. Reform would involve shutting down the soft money system that produces huge $100,000 contributions, restricting PAC contributions and reducing their influence, limiting campaign spending and providing cleaner and shorter campaigns through free or reduced-cost television time.

Their goal is to gain public commitments from candidates to change the system in Washington. It's time we got started.

F. Lester Simon Jr.

Baltimore

Cheering Protest

I'm sure Vicki Aversa [spokeswoman for the National Aquarium] would like to downplay the recent demonstration at the National Aquarium, but her statements in the press (Oct. 25) are amusing to those who were there.

The ticket line was very short for a pleasant Saturday morning. Many visitors expressed strong support to the dozen or so demonstrators handing out literature describing the high mortality of marine mammals at the Aquarium.

The cheering during the arrests was done by those same demonstrators to show support and gratitude to those who had the courage to face arrest for exercising their First Amendment rights on "park property."

Let's hope the day never comes when the public would cheer the unjust suppression of free speech.

Stephen Soles

Halethorpe

Why Rome Fell

While viewing Maryland Public Television, I was impressed with a lecture dealing with the basic causes for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

Given as causes were the non-accountability of the government to the people it governed, the failure to provide for the common defense and security of the populace, the free give-away of food, money and other benefits to the poor and unemployed, which reduced their incentive to work, and the over-taxation of the working middle class to pay for these massive social give-aways and the middle class's eventual ruin.

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