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California Bans Undisclosed Dark Money

Today's rule will force donor disclosure -- even to 501(c)(4) organizations.
California Bans Undisclosed Dark Money

As California goes, so goes the nation? We can only hope so, because the money is bad enough, but the lack of disclosure is what really does the harm. California has just made sure we know who the donors are behind the ads.

The state’s campaign finance watchdog agency on Thursday adopted new requirements that nonprofit groups that contribute through a political action committee to support or oppose ballot measures or candidates in California must disclose their donors.

“The amendment to this regulation clarifies that so-called “dark money,” originating from nonprofit or other organizations whose donors are not disclosed, is not permitted in California elections,” said Hyla P. Wagner, general counsel for the state Fair Political Practices Commission in a report to the panel.

I noticed that the top comment on that article suggested it would never hold up in court. I would urge that commenter to consider the fact that the Citizens United decision specifically called for disclosure as the antidote to claims that money corrupts. Right now we have no disclosure and unlimited money. If we can't limit donations, we should understand who is paying for all that speech, and there's nothing in the Citizens United decision that stands in the way of that.

It would also be possible for regulations concerning non-profit organizations to be strengthened and clarified so that they're not used to shield political activity, but don't hold your breath. The poutrage over the so-called "IRS Scandal" has completely neutered that agency.


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