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Senator Wyden trying to shine a bright light on “dark money”

Sen. Ron Wyden
D-Oregon

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden has introduced legislation that would overturn the U.S. Treasury Department’s controversial new decision that allows “dark money” groups to hide the identities of their major donors from the public and law enforcement officials.

Wyden and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution, an expedited legislative tool that can force a Senate vote on the issue. “This measure reverses course on an undemocratic Trump agenda to empower shadowy groups that seek to buy our elections,” said Wyden, Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee. “It couldn’t come at a more important time. Over the next few weeks, political ads will be flooding the airwaves. Because of the Trump administration’s new dark money rule, tax authorities won’t know whether those ads are being paid for by foreign governments or individuals.”

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In July, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service eliminated the requirement for certain tax-exempt organizations to report the identities of major donors to the IRS. This allows certain “dark money” groups and politically-charged organizations to hide the identities of their donors from tax authorities. The rule was announced hours after alleged Russian spy Maria Butina was indicted on charges of using the National Rifle Association as a conduit to influence our elections.

“The IRS’s decision to give Mega-Donors and Big Money special interests more secrecy with their political spending goes against what the majority of Americans want. Voters deserve to know who’s behind the seemingly unlimited money that’s trying to influence their vote and their government,“ said End Citizens United Action Fund President Tiffany Muller. “ECU thanks Senators Tester and Wyden for their leadership, and Congress should pass this measure immediately. It would shine a much-needed light on political nonprofits that spend hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle in the shadows.”

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In July, Wyden introduced the Spotlight Act to overturn the Treasury Department and IRS rule and take it one step further by requiring tax-exempt non-profit organizations to disclose their donors to the public, not just the IRS. This legislation is supported by 29 senators.

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