The Tax Reform Act of 1969

In the early 1960s, the seemingly irresistible force met the truly immovable object. As Thomas A. Troyer recounts in “The Cataclysm of Sixty-Nine” (1999), Rep. Wright Patman (D-Tex.), a populist down to his socks, was hearing disturbing reports about underhanded doings at foundations, some of which were located in a region of the country he found highly suspect (the Eastern seaboard). In 1961, Patman requested a broad range of data from more than five hundred foundations. He was furious about the abuses his survey uncovered—a tiny percentage of his sample, to be sure, but probably, he suspected, only the tip of the iceberg. Among the findings were foundations that paid out little or nothing for charitable purposes, ...

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