The IRS or SEC Could Help Reduce Dark Money

This piece ties the two trends of relaxing campaign finance limits and disclosure laws and tightening voter id laws and explores potential solutions from the IRS and SEC

Salon: “What if Washington, D.C., adopted a comprehensive disclosure law? In 2010, Congress came within one vote of overcoming a party-line filibuster to pass the DISCLOSE Act. Since then, the need for improved transparency has only grown more urgent and it’d be nice if the Republican Congress would adopt a donor ID law. (Don’t hold your breath, said Demos’Liz Kennedy.)

“Better to lay your bet on the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is supposed to protect shareholders and the “integrity of the markets.” It could issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose political spending to shareholders.”

“Or maybe the taxman could help. The Internal Revenue Code does not require nonprofits organized under section 501(c)4 or 501(c)(6) to disclose their donors to the public. Yet, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act calls for exactly those groups to disclose their donors when they run “issue ads” that mention a candidate. Confusing? You bet! The law and the code don’t match up and things get even muddier when you factor in other federal agencies. As this chart demonstrates, the tangled web of campaign finance is enough to give even an offshore banker a migraine.

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