Today, Common Cause urged Congress to hold hearings to investigate new Treasury Department rules that gut disclosure requirements for tax-exempt organizations that have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into U.S. elections in recent years. The move also comes at a time when serious concerns have been raised about foreign money being illegally funneled into U.S. elections through these groups.
The letters urge the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to investigate the move by the Treasury Department Monday night announcing that it would no longer require most politically-active tax-exempt organizations to report the identities of their donors to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The letter emphasizes the significant threat of hostile foreign governments utilizing these groups to illegally funnel money into our elections.
“As the indictment and arrest of Mariia Butina made very clear, the Russian government is already trying to use organizations like the National Rifle Association NRA to influence U.S. policy and as citizens we need to know more, not less about who is funding them,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “At a time when there is a very real threat of foreign money being wielded illegally to sway our elections we should not be stripping the IRS of important tools to safeguard the system from that threat. President Trump may not believe every single U.S. intelligence agency’s determination that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, but it happened, and steps must be taken to ensure that it does not happen again.”
“Increasingly, Republicans on Capitol Hill are realizing that the Trump Administration is not taking the desperately needed steps to safeguard our election system and that Congress must step into the breach,” said Aaron Scherb, Common Cause director of legislative affairs. “Making IRS investigative officers fly blind is only inviting the fox into the henhouse. Congress must step up to halt the opening of this new vulnerability to the system at a time when we should be improving our safeguards against foreign interference.”
To read the letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, click here.
To read the letter to the Senate Finance Committee, click here.