Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 887

IRS Logo 2Washington Post:  ‘Dark Money’ is the IRS’s Real Problem, by Henry Geller:

n his Oct. 8 op-ed column, Impeach the IRS director, George F. Will criticized the Internal Revenue Service for its delay in processing applications for tax-exempt status and indeed urged that the IRS director be impeached.

However, these social welfare organizations under 501(c)(4) were never meant to be entities engaged only in political activities, so the IRS has sought to define how much political activity they can engage in. The IRS has been unsuccessful in this effort, and it is difficult to see how it can hope to succeed.

The result has been the emergence of entities such as Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity on the Republican side, and Priorities USA and Organizing for Action on the Democratic side. Because IRS rules do not require disclosure of donors, the electorate has no notion of who is trying to sway their votes, contrary to the recent Supreme Court opinions in Citizens United and McCutcheon strongly urging transparency. This flood of “dark money” in the most recent election and the next one is the real mess at the IRS.

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Why do the voters have any right to know where the money is coming from?

HRC gets a lot of money from the Clinton Foundation, which is apparently funded by a lot of foreign governments. Where is the disclosure about those? I think knowing about foreign money influencing our national politics is far more important than knowing about domestic money doing so.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Oct 16, 2015 8:11:57 AM

"and Organizing for Action on the Democratic side. '

This is just the latest of a multitude of Democrat nonprofit activist groups that have been engaging in politics for decades. OFA received a speedy determination by the IRS and didn't go through years of purgatory like non-Democrat groups.

Also, anonymous speech is free speech. The first amendment is for more than burning flags, surfing porn in the kiddie section of the library, and advocating for socialist revolutions.

It is telling that the Democrats want the ability to silence the people and groups who are the intended targets of their policies. Speaking out about policies that effect us is exactly why we have the first amendment.

Posted by: wodun | Oct 13, 2015 11:43:50 PM

The whole justification for Citizens United and McCutcheon is the First Amendment. There's no constitutional requirement that the source of funds must be disclosed. (A statutory requirement that the source must be disclosed might not be unconstitutional; a much weaker statement.)

Posted by: No-no-no | Oct 13, 2015 5:31:11 PM

Mr. AMTbuff: Dark money doesn't fund "ideas." It funds candidates. The whole justification for Citizens United and McCutcheon is transparency--the voters should know from whom the money is coming.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Oct 13, 2015 1:32:13 PM

Isn't the insistence on knowing the source of funding for advocacy simply an ad hominem counterattack? And aren't ad hominem arguments universally accepted to be invalid? Why can't an idea stand or fall on its own strength, regardless of who funds it?

I'm sure there are some good reasons, so please post them here.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Oct 13, 2015 9:30:05 AM