Monday, August 15, 2011
Politico reports early indications that many millions of dollars are flowing anonymously into new and old non-charitable, tax-exempt section 501(c) organizations on both sides of the political aisle, as well as into the infamous SuperPACs that are required to publicly disclosure the identities of their significant donors. On the left are the recently created American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, Patriot Majority, and Priorities USA, each with an affiliated SuperPAC (Priorities USA Action, American Bridge 21st Century, and Patriot Majority PAC). On the right are the slightly more established (existed at least as early as 2010) Americans for Prosperity and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (i.e., Crossroads GPS), with the latter also having an affiliated SuperPAC (American Crossroads). They join longstanding, politically active tax-exempt organizations, including labor unions such as the Service Employees Union International, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the 60 Plus Association. Information about the 2011 revenue and expenditures of the section 501(c) organizations is based on voluntarily released information and required reporting of certain election-related spending and so is necessarily incomplete. Information about SuperPAC revenue and spending, or as it is more formally known Independent Expenditure-Only Committee spending, can be found on the FEC website for such organizations that are involved in federal elections. For those who have not been following Stephen Colbert's SuperPAC, the great advantage of such entities is their ability to raise unlimited contributions from individuals, unions, and corporations as long as they operate independently of candidates and political parties. Their great disadvantage as compared to section 501(c) organizations, at least for some potential donors, is they must publicly disclose the identities of all significant contributors.