June 2007 Vol. 105 No. 8 THE REVIEW

What's Good for the Goose Is Not Good for the Gander: Sarbanes-Oxley-Style Nonprofit Reforms

Lumen N. Mulligan

In this Article, I contend that the Sarbanes-Oxley-inspired nonprofit reforms currently being put forward in seven states, particularly the costly disclosure requirements, will be of little value in the effort to improve ethical nonprofit board governance. After providing a primer on the oversight of nonprofit organizations and highlighting the unique difficulties facing the nonprofit sector, the Article reviews the recent Sarbanes-Oxley-like nonprofit reforms introduced in seven states. It then contends that the disclosure-focused reforms that form the bulwark of these initiatives will not foster improved ethical nonprofit board governance. It also argues that this failure stems from the inappropriate application of a stockholder-based normative perspective in the nonprofit sector. The Article concludes by noting that appropriating a normative construct more tailored to the non-profit community, namely stakeholder theory, is essential to drafting effective nonprofit sector reforms in the future.

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