Patt Morrison for August 20, 2012

Nonprofits, not Super PACs, becoming main culprit in clandestine campaign contributions

Romney And Cain Address Defending American Dream Summit

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Americans for Prosperity Foundation chairman and Koch Industries Executive Vice President David H. Koch (C) listens to speakers during the Defending the American Dream Summit at the Washington Convention Center November 4, 2011 in Washington, DC. The conservative political summit is organized by Americans for Prosperity, which was founded with the support of Koch.

“Forget super PACs... which can take unlimited contributions but must name their donors. More money is being spent on TV advertising in the presidential race by social welfare nonprofits, known as 501(c)(4)s for their section of the tax code, than by any other type of independent group.” That’s the crux of Propublica reporter Kim Barker’s investigation into dark money nonprofits.

They are technically nonprofit organizations enjoying a tax-exempt status, but they are funding political ads with millions of dollars and influencing what people think about the upcoming election. What do they tell the IRS & FEC they’re doing and what do they actually do? Barker looked into their activity and she joins guest host Alex Cohen to explain how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision paved the way for their activity.


Kim Barker, reporter for ProPublica; her latest piece is “How Nonprofits Spend Millions on Elections and Call it Public Welfare”

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