Kochs’ Victory: House of Reps. Votes to Protect Anonymous ‘Dark Money’ Donors

TeleSur | – –

The House of Representatives approved a bill that campaign finance refomers say will open the door to illegal influence on political campaigns.

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to protect the identities of wealthy individuals and others who make anonymous, or “dark money,” donations to politically active nonprofit groups.

The measure, which drew lobbying support from billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, was approved in a 240-180 vote along party lines. It would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from collecting the names and addresses of donors who contribute US$5,000 or more to 501(c) organizations, a name that refers to the tax code section that covers them. The action sends the bill along to the Senate.

Although the measure would apply to all 501(c) tax-exempt groups, such as universities, hospitals and charities, politically active nonprofits are the intended beneficiaries.

Political spending by nonprofit groups including the Koch- aligned Americans for Prosperity has grown dramatically since 2010, when the Supreme Court opened the way to unlimited spending on political campaigns by individuals, corporations, unions and other groups in its landmark Citizens United ruling.

The White House on Monday said it opposed the bill, the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act, claiming it would constrain the IRS from enforcing tax laws and reduce transparency among private foundations.

Democrats argued that the legislation could make it easier for foreign entities to finance political campaigns inside the United States.

Charity regulators have also warned that the loss of donor information would make it harder to protect the public against charity fraud. The change would reduce available information on a range of organizations, IRS data shows.

Fred Wertheimer, president of the watchdog group Democracy 21, told USA Today that the measure benefits groups and wealthy individuals who want to spend unlimited amounts in elections and conceal their giving.

Nonprofit groups could spend more than US$500 million on this year’s presidential and congressional elections, up from US$10 million in 2008, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Via TeleSur


Related video added by Juan Cole:

Secular Talk: “Republicans Protect ‘Dark Money’ Political Donors”

4 Responses

  1. Corruption and 1% money invading Congressional elections accounts for the current population of the House of Representatives including public enemy #1 of at least 93% of our total populations standard of living, Speaker Paul Ryan.

    No wonder this bill which is the complete opposite of “campaign reform” is so popular there?

  2. The Roman Republic lasted for how many centuries, before it became an Empire? Was it two?

  3. mark s smith

    . what % of all #darkMoney comes from companies that have HQ on #WallStreet ? @CNN @MSNBC @WuTangCannabis @FoxNews ( thankYou Juan)

  4. Beyond the obvious wealthy contributors who would like to keep their donations secret there are three other categories of donors whose involvement raises tremendous issues of national security. First, donation secrecy makes it more difficult to trace funds flowing from foreign governments into political campaigns. The Chinese and Israeli governments are just two that would like to increase their influence via campaign funding. Second, narcotics traffickers have at strong interest in shaping policy. They are likely behind much of the screaming about illegal aliens as diverting border inspection from freight traffic to chasing dishwashers makes it easier to slip drugs through our borders. Third, those involved in money laundering and other illegal financial transactions would love to cripple Treasury and Justice Department investigations into such dealings. One wonders how much dirty money flowed to those favoring this bill. All those with contributions from the Chinese military and drug traffickers raise your hands.

    Thought so.

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