Trump Admin Finalizes Rule That Could Protect Foreign Dark Money in Elections - 2020-05-28
Starting today, the Internal Revenue Service will cease to collect information from political nonprofits that is needed for the government to discover and investigate possible campaign finance violations, such as the illegal funneling of foreign money into U.S. elections.
Under a regulation from the IRS and the Treasury Department that was published in the Federal Register today, nonprofit organizations, including 501(c)(4)s and 501(c)(6)s that are allowed to spend money on elections without revealing their donors, will no longer be required to report the names and addresses of their donors to the IRS. For decades, the organizations had been required to report the identities of their donors giving $5,000 or more to the agency on Schedule B of 990 forms, though donors' names and addresses were redacted before the forms were made available to the public.
During the rulemaking process, multiple organizations filed comments expressing concerns that the rule would make it impossible for the government to detect donations from entities that are prohibited from spending money on U.S. elections under federal election law, including foreign governments and federal contractors. The IRS and Treasury Department dismiss these concerns in their regulatory guidance document, stating that the IRS is not authorized to enforce campaign finance laws and that commenters favoring the change argued that entities trying to dodge campaign finance laws are unlikely to report incriminating information on Schedule B forms anyways.