CAPITOL HILL (AP) Congress has passed legislation that will ensure the families of five firefighters killed in Southern California get more than $1 million in donations.
The legislation allows a local chapter of the United Way to distribute the money to the families of the U.S. Forest service firefighters killed in an arson wildfire in October.
IRS rules prevent tax-exempt charitable organizations from raising money to benefit individuals, so the United Way risked losing its tax-exempt status if it gave out the money.
The legislation applies only to money raised to help families of those killed in the October 26th wildfire. The blaze near Palm Springs consumed more than 40,000 acres. An auto mechanic arrested in the case has pleaded not guilty to arson and murder.
The same exemptions were enacted for families of victims of the 9/11 terror attacks.