The Bill : HR5053 Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act
The Vote : 240 – 182
The Winners : Norm Coleman’s American Action Network, National Rifle Association, US Chamber of Commerce, Koch brother’s Americans For Prosperity, Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, and of course Republicans who want unlimited, anonymous, unaccountable money to pour into U.S.
elections—including possibly from foreign sources.
ICYMI, yesterday, the U S Treasury announced that it will no longer require “social welfare non-profits” to disclose the names of donors who gave in excess of $5,000 on Schedule B.
The Treasury action potentially opens the door for unlimited, secret money from foreign governments or individuals to be funneled into our elections.
While cash from outside countries isn’t allowed in U.S. elections, it can be given to nonprofits — which can then spend that money in elections while keeping the identity of donors hidden.
Previous to the Treasury Department change, the reporting requirement meant that tax-exempt, 501(c)(4) groups knew they could be held accountable if they illegally spent foreign money in federal elections.
Campaign finance reform groups opposed this Republican-sponsored bill warning that, if donor disclosure to the IRS is eliminated, no one will know whether a social welfare organization has received foreign funds and is illegally spending them in our elections.
Thus, the only real protection we had against the use of foreign money by politically active social welfare organizations is that they had to disclose their substantial contributors to the IRS — is now over.
And who voted for HR5053 Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act ?
No surprise … Minnesota’s Third District Congressman Erik “PACman” Paulsen
ICYMI, Congressman Paulsen got mentioned in a recent OpEd in the Washington Post (highlights)
Don’t let big and dark money ‘drown out the truth and drown out your voice’
2018 is expected to be the most expensive midterm cycle in history, beyond the $3.8 billion spent on races in 2014. That number is staggering, but not surprising, given the proliferation of money in politics over the past decade.
This dynamic is plainly visible in the spending so far during the 2018 cycle. As of this writing, political action committees have doled out nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to congressional candidates this cycle. Thirteen of the top 15 recipients of contributions from PACs are Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Among them are party leaders including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) as well as vulnerable members from blue states, such as Rep. Peter J. Roskam (Ill.) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (Minn.), whose races could help swing the balance of power in Washington.
Much has come from “dark money” organizations that aren’t required to disclose their donors. One such group is the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, the nonprofit arm of the right-wing gun lobby, whose $35.2 million spent in the 2016 election was the most of any dark-money organization.
Fun Fact : Peter Roskam is the author of the bill and it was processed through his Ways and Means Committee (which also includes Erik Paulsen) approved in a pure partyline vote 23-15.
While yesterday’s headlines were dominated by Trump’s Make RUSSIA Great Again summit, let’s not forget that the FEC is currently investigating The National Rifle Association for accepting contributions from at least 23 Russia-linked donors … and in the future they will not have to report those donations in the future.
Yep, Monday was a good day for #PACmanPaulsen.
As such, expect to see even more commercials like the one Norm Coleman’s group supporting Erik “PACman” Paulsen ( previously discussed on the MN Political Roundtable. )
So when you see “Paid for by American Action Network”, ask yourself “Who paid really?”
Hardworking Minnesotans in #MN03 are seeing lower taxes, higher salaries, and expanded benefits. That means families have more financial stability and peace of mind thanks to @RepErikPaulsen's commitment to pro-growth tax reform. pic.twitter.com/iCYDnNRH5n
— American Action Network (@AAN) March 21, 2018