From: Jon Beckwith <[log in to unmask]>Date: July 2, 2007 4:07:57 PM PDTTo: Michael H Goldhaber <[log in to unmask]>Subject: Re: SftP tax problemsMichael- Basically SftP was rapidly dwindlling in numbers and while we had an office with two staff people, they were effectively left on their own to take care of everything including finances. The last person who was the finance staff person found that he couldn't pay bills, so he stopped paying withholding tax from SftP funds for their staff without telling anyone. By the time that came into the open in the late 80's, we were faced with (if I remember correctly) an $80,,000 IRS debt. A group of us formed to take charge and see if we could raise the money. I was made "President" so that dealing with the IRS would be possible. We maybe raised $30,000. The lawyer who worked with me on this was a big fan of SftP and when I suggested it might be better to disband, he opposed it. However, it became clear we could never raise the money needed to pay the IRS. I evetntually met with the IRS person, who was surprised that we were pursuing this and said "If you just close down, we won't go after you." We did.
I think it was mistake to make the effort in the first place. I had been in SftP for so long (~20 years) and it had been so important to me that I couldn't let go. Yet, there was hardly an organization any more- no chapters and the Boston chapter was practically non-existent. That was the real problem. The steering committee or whatever it was that we had at that time agreed we would close down. This happened in 1990 I think.
By the way, the Study Group that I was in at the time (Sociobiology Study Group) continued eventually as the Genetic Screening Study Group and meets to this day. We;ve done a lot- conferences- school materials and a 2002 book titled "The Double-Edged Helix: Social Implications of Genetics in a Diverse Society."
You sent this to me personally. Should I send it out to the SftP ListServe or you can copy and paste it out.
At 04:04 PM 7/2/2007, you wrote:
Eric E. cites you as knowledgeable about tax problems besetting the old Science for the People. Do you mind summarizing what they are? I hadn't heard of this.
Dept. of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Harvard Medical School
200 Longwood Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
e-mail [log in to unmask]
Recent books and articles:
My book, a memoir entitled: Making Genes, Making Waves: A Social Activist in Science, Harvard University Press, 2002. http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/BECMAK.html
Copies conformes ou copies qu'on forme ? J. Beckwith. Sciences et Avenir Hors-Série #149, p.71 (2006)
Should we make a fuss? A case for social responsibility in science. F. Huang and J. Beckwith, Nature Biotechnology. 23:1479-1480 (2005).
Whither Human Behavioral Genetics, J. Beckwith in Wrestling with
Behavioral Genetics: Ethics, Science, and Public Conversation, eds. E. Parens, A. Chapman and N. Press. Johns Hopkins University Press (2005)