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SHOW ME THE RECORDS: Track activity of Missouri charities, donations online

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:27 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2014

COLUMBIA — Most government records are open to the public at no charge. These records give citizens the opportunity to find out what's going on, how their elected officials are spending tax dollars, how the various departments within a governmental entity work and other valuable information needed to make strong decisions for the future. Each week, the Missourian highlights a government record that is available to the public. For a complete list of Show Me the Records, go to http://columbiamissourian.com/records.

The records: The Missouri Attorney General's Office has a website that lists charities, both statewide and nationwide. It details each charity's program expenses, total expenses, total revenue and contact information.

Why you want them: You can find out how much of a charity's donated funds go to its cause or its administrative costs. The program expenses are for charitable activities, which might include costs of printing literature about the cause and the salaries of staff who are directly involved in conducting the charitable activities.

Where you go: Go to ago.mo.gov/checkacharity/. You can search for a specific charity or click "View all charities" to see a full list of charities that submitted information to the Attorney General's Office.

How much it will cost: This information is free.


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