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October 19, 2016

Daily News Roundup: DiCaprio Fund Cooperating With Malaysia Corruption Inquiry

DiCaprio Charity Says It Will Return Any 1MDB-Tainted Gifts: A spokesperson for Leonardo DiCaprio said the actor’s environmental charity will return any donations found to have been diverted from Malaysian sovereign-wealth fund 1MDB, writes The Hollywood Reporter. The statement is the first from the star’s camp since reports surfaced that the U.S. Justice Department was examining ties between Mr. DiCaprio and Malaysian financer Jho Low, the central figure in the $1 billion embezzlement case and a Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation donor. The charity supports organizations working on conservation, climate, and other environmental issues. The actor’s camp said he and the foundation are cooperating with the federal inquiry.

Opinion: Time for U.S. to Explore Per-Child Cash Allowance: A New York Times economics writer looks at academic and philanthropic calls for the United States to scrap the current child tax credit and replace it with a monthly check for every child in the country. Eduardo Porter, in his Economic Scene column, says direct payments would do more than tax breaks to help low-income families and reduce America’s childhood-poverty rate, which far exceeds that of many other developed countries. A group of nine poverty experts argues for a $250 monthly per-child allowance in an upcoming article for the Russell Sage Foundation.

Head of L.A. Aids Charity Expands Political Reach and Draws Critics: The Los Angeles Times profiles Michael Weinstein, leader of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is backing two high-profile measures on the California election ballot. The longtime HIV activist has built the Los Angeles-based foundation into one of the biggest AIDS-focused nonprofits while pursuing an aggressive brand of advocacy that has led detractors to label him a “bully” and a “thug.” The charity, which has a $1.2 billion budget and runs hundreds of clinics and pharmacies serving AIDS patients, is helping finance propositions to require condom use in adult-film production and cut the prices California state agencies pay for prescription drugs.

Mich. Bill Would Limit Towns on Taxing Nonprofit Property: Michigan lawmakers are weighing a measure to codify criteria for what constitutes a charitable nonprofit and prevent municipalities from trying to tax qualifying groups, Crain’s Detroit Business reports. The bill has been approved by the State Senate finance committee and now goes to the full Senate. Backers of the measure say Michigan towns have applied charity criteria inconsistently, leading to property-tax assessments that cost nonprofits considerable time and money to appeal. Municipal officials say only nonprofit-owned property at which groups conduct mission-related charity work should be exempt.

Bill and Melinda Gates and Rockefeller Head Were on Clinton VP Long List: The co-chairs of the world’s largest grant maker and departing Rockefeller Foundation leader Judith Rodin were among 39 politicians, executives, and philanthropists Hillary Clinton’s campaign considered as possible running mates, Bloomberg reports, citing hacked emails released by WikiLeaks. The list circulated among top Clinton aides in March by campaign Chairman John Podesta also included two business leaders with high philanthropic profiles: media mogul and ex-New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Read a Chronicle interview with Judith Rodin.