Congress votes to protect their dark money

The Republican controlled Congress has voted to keep the dark money that finance their campaigns secret.

The bill was supported mostly along party lines 240-180 and received strong backing from lobbyist groups and billionaire donors David and Charles Koch.

The bill prevents the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), from obtaining the names and addresses of donors who contribute $5, 000 or more to political organizations that fall under section 501(c) of the tax code.

While universities and religious groups are also classified as 501(c) tax-exempt organizations, the bill is intended to benefit those groups who contribute to campaigns and political causes.

“Republicans are here today to continue their attack on the IRS as they drive really to further undermine our campaign finance system,” Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, said.

The supporters of this bill however are using the excuse that this bill protects the wealthy from political persecution for their political beliefs.

The bill “makes much needed steps to protect taxpayer identities and ease the compliance burden on tax-exempt organizations,” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said. “And most importantly, this bill helps to ensure that Americans can never again be singled out by the IRS for their political beliefs.”

Those opposed to this bill say that keeping dark money secret gives foreign donors and companies undue influence in American political life.

The Obama Administration has said it would veto the bill and the Office of Management and Budget said that the bill reduces transparency.

“By permanently preventing the IRS from requiring reporting of donor information by 501(c) organizations, H.R. 5053 would constrain the IRS in enforcing tax laws and reduce the transparency of private foundations,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of administration policy.

 

[Reuters] [The Hill]