Nonprofits are likely under attack as the Senate seeks “dark money” | WGN Radio 720

At a hearing in the Senate on Wednesday, Republicans and Democrats could set fireworks over the role that Foundations and nonprofits play in elections.

The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Monitoring does not provide any explanation for hearings other than the title “Law and Enforcement Governing the Political Activities of Tax Exemption Entities.” Even witnesses who testify are unclear in their focus. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of the subcommittee seems to want to raise concerns about the “dark money” flowing through 501 (c) (4) nonprofits, but the Republicans have expanded the scope of their hearings. , 501 (c) (3) Charity and Foundation.

Unlike 501 (c) (3) charities, donations to 501 (c) (4) social welfare organizations are not tax deductible, and as a result, these organizations engage in a much wider range of political activities. Is allowed.

Ann M. Ravel, one of the witnesses to the hearing and former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, who is currently teaching at the University of California, Berkeley Law School, said on the transfer of funds from 501 (c). He said he would discuss concerns. ) (4) Organizations to political action committees with little oversight or public awareness of the sources of these funds.

“There is a problematic lack of accountability,” Ravel said.

However, witnesses invited to testify by the Republican Commission are short-sighted in focusing on the financing of the Political Action Commission, and in their view, 501 (c) (3) nonprofits. Foundation.

Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center, a conservative group that oversees philanthropy and political contributions, said there was no specific law associated with the hearing. Walter said the abuse of partisan activities by 501 (c) (3) charities is a far greater problem than the 501 (c) (4) “dark money” that the White House is trying to focus on. He said he was going to insist.

He noted Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s $ 400 million commitment in the last election cycle to promote access and integrity to elections. Mr. Walter said that most of these funds are spent in democratic districts and make charitable donations that are tax deductible in a way that has “intentions or effects that benefit one candidate or political party.” He said he violated the federal ban on use.

Groups like the New Venture Fund have undergone similar scrutiny from conservatives. He pursues a wide range of progressive policies in areas such as climate change and gender equality, regularly from people such as Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Scott, Melinda French Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and foundations such as Ford and MacArthur. Have received a big gift.

Arabella Advisors, a commercial consulting firm that advises wealthy donors and foundations, is also conservative, saying it helps nonprofits cross the boundaries of acceptable activities of charities that enjoy the benefits of tax exemption. Brought out the anger of. contribution.

Several states across the country are trying to ban external groups from funding the running of local elections.

Brad Smith, the founder of the Freedom of Speech Institute, who testifies at a hearing at the Republican invitation, said that the Democratic Party has many 501 (c) (3) charities that could influence elections and policies. I am engaged in various activities. For example, charities are allowed to conduct voter registration drives for specific areas, lobby a limited amount, and defend specific issues of interest. Mr Smith said.

“I’m very cynical about the hearing because I consider it a bit ironic,” Smith said.

The people on the left, on the other hand, are targeting Charles Koch, a longtime supporter of a conservative charity. Left-right concerns are calling for policy makers to provide clearer rules on how charities can spend their money on election-related activities.

Another witness who was asked to testify was Philip Hackney of the Faculty of Law, University of Pittsburgh, who considers it a widespread abuse of that privilege, so does a private foundation need to retain priority tax status? I am wondering if you are.

Whitehouse is a key supporter of the law, which requires 501 (c) (4) groups, political action committees, and other organizations that spend money on elections to disclose donors who donate more than $ 10,000 during the election cycle. .. The White House has also expressed concern about the use of “dark money” to care for and promote conservative candidates for federal judges, including the Supreme Court.

The offices of Senator White House and Senator John Thune, top Republicans of the Senate Subcommittee, did not respond to phone calls or emails asking for comments on the hearing.


This article was contributed to The Associated Press by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Dunparks is the Chief Editor of Chronicles. Email: APs and Chronicles are supported by the Lily Foundation for philanthropic and non-profit organizations. AP and Chronicle are solely responsible for all content. For all coverage of AP’s philanthropy, please visit

Nonprofits are likely under attack as the Senate seeks “dark money” | WGN Radio 720

Source link Nonprofits are likely under attack as the Senate seeks “dark money” | WGN Radio 720

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