Published December 12, 2013
Is it possible that widely praised philanthropist and media renegade Jane Fonda isn’t so charitable after all?
According to documents first unveiled by The Smoking Gun, the Fonda Foundation – of which the 75-year-old actress serves as president and chairman of the board – hasn’t donated a dime to charity over the last five years, according to its filed federal tax returns.
But a Fonda representative says all IRS requirements are being met.
While the 2011 return is void of donations, it seems the four years prior are too. And in 2006, the group made one single $1,000 donation to the Atlanta Obstetric and Gynecology Society.
But the apparent lack of financial donations also indicates that the Fonda Foundation, which is based in Atlanta, could be in serious trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, which requires that private foundations make annual distributions of at least five percent of its assets.
As the Smoking Gun explains, the “five percent rule” is designed to prohibit such private groups from stockpiling and investing funds while failing to make donations and fulfill its intended purpose.
This means that Fonda’s organization should have dished out a bare minimum of $40,000 in 2011, yet the document filing remains glaringly blank. Raising more eyebrows is the alleged notion that the group has attempted to grow its financial value through the stock market, as evidenced by the 2011 filing, which lists 166 separate trades totaling around $2200.
The filing also claims that Fonda devotes ten hours per week to working for her foundation.
“This looks awful. No way around it. It looks like Jane Fonda doesn't care and she is involved in the foundation just to make herself look good,” crisis communications specialist Glenn Selig told FOX411. “Unfortunately, not donating anything makes her look bad.”
However, according to a legal representative for Fonda, Barry Hirsch, all necessary IRS requirements have been met and the charity is in full compliance with all codes. Hirsch said that by law, over-contributions in earlier years can be carried over for up to five years and be covered under the “five percent rule.” Documents obtained by FOX411 show that the organization donated large sums of money in its first two years of existence – 2004 and 2005 – and thus Hirsch says this makes Fonda’s organization completely compliant with IRS regulations.
Hirsch declined comment regarding allegations that the group has attempted to grow its value via the stock market.