David Callahan, a senior fellow at the think tank Demos, contends the tax code should differentiate between charities and overtly partisan advocacy organizations. Now neither type of group must reveal the names of its supporters.
The Montana Supreme Court in Helena stands just off the main drag, dramatically called Last Chance Gulch Street. The picturesque setting is fitting for an institution that has just challenged the U.S. Supreme Court to a legal showdown on the enormously important question of whether corporations should have an unfettered right to dominate elections or whether citizens have the right to adopt commonsense protections to defend democratic government from corruption. Get the kids off the streets, because this could be an epic confrontation.
The difference is obvious, Potter replied. Because 527 groups were legally shady, they attracted far less money from fewer donors. True, the FEC didn’t enforce the law, but donors couldn’t be sure that would be the case, and some were unwilling to take the risk.
One of the effects of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision is that it allowed corporations to give unlimited amounts to independent expenditure political action committees capable of supporting or opposing political candidates.
But a new report from the non-profit group Demos shows that the majority, 55.6 percent, of donations to super PACs in 2010 and 2011 still came from individuals rather than for-profit entities.
A joint analysis by Demos and US PIRG released today takes a detailed look at the increasing (and deleterious) impact that so-called Super PACs are having on elections in the United States. Super PACs are independent political action committees that can accept unlimited and often undisclosed financial contributions from donors to campaign for or against candidates or issues during an election.
A new report from two public-interest groups confirms fears "that the cash for big-ticket campaign spending like TV advertising is increasingly controlled by an elite class of super-rich patrons not afraid to plunk down a million bucks or more for favored candidates and causes."
Six out of the top 10 fundraising super PACs have received untraceable donations. In total, 20 percent of super PACs received untraceable donations in 2011.
A study entitled "Auctioning Democracy" also found that the super rich give a large amount of the funding received by super PACs. This skews American politics, it concluded, because wealthy donors have different life experiences and political preferences than other citizens.