House approves Koch-backed bill to shield donors' names - 2016-06-14
WASHINGTON — The House approved a bill Tuesday that would bar the IRS from collecting the names of donors to tax-exempt groups, prompting warnings from campaign-finance watchdogs that it could lead to foreign interests illegally infiltrating American elections.
The measure, which has the support of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., also pits the Obama administration against one of the most powerful figures in Republican politics, billionaire industrialist Charles Koch. Koch's donor network channels hundreds of millions of dollars each year into groups that largely use anonymous donations to shape policies on everything from health care to tax subsidies. Its leaders have urged the Republican-controlled Congress to clamp down on the IRS, citing free-speech concerns.
The names of donors to politically active non-profit groups aren't public information now, but the organizations still have to disclose donor information to the IRS on annual tax returns. The bill, written by Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., would prohibit the tax agency from collecting names, addresses or any "identifying information" about donors.