The New York Times reports of rumblings around the tax exempt status of private museums ranging from the open-by-appointment to the civic centerpiece:
Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the committee’s Republican chairman, sent letters this month to small galleries like the Brant Foundation Art Study Center in Greenwich, Conn., and Glenstone museum in Potomac, Md., as well as Eli and Edythe Broad’s new $140 million art museum in Los Angeles, asking for information about visiting hours, donations, trustees, valuations and art loans.
Republican committee staff members said the inquiry was part of a broader effort by Mr. Hatch to re-examine bedrock institutions, including museums and private universities, that have long enjoyed preferential tax treatment.
“Tax-exempt museums should focus on providing a public good and not the art of skirting around the tax code,” Mr. Hatch said in an email statement. “While more information is needed to ensure compliance with the tax code, one thing is clear: Under the law, these organizations have a duty to promote the public interest, not those of well-off benefactors, plain and simple.”
Tax Status of Museums Questioned by Senators (The New York Times)