I’ve been asked by a religion website to write an article about the issue of tzedakah. Specifically, how should one consider tzedakah whose source is illegal or immoral activity? What factors should be considered in determining whether tzedakah should be accepted? Does a donee have any obligation to consider sources of tzedakah when accepting a donation? Does the good that tzedakah does outweigh or even remove the blemish of the funds’ origins?
And on a separate subject, if a prominent member of the Jewish community who is also a major donor finds his reputation blemished by serious and disturbing charges of illegality (charges so far unproven in a court of law but nonetheless creditable) how should the community view the individual? Should he maintain whatever prestigious leadership positions he/she holds? Should community organizations maintain his name on their walls and halls? Should they continue to accept donations from him/her?
I’m looking for Jewish sources on this subject particularly online sources or direct quotations which I won’t need a physical library to research. Please send me an e mail or leave a comment on this post. Thanks for any help you can provide.