Citizens United

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Transparency v. Free Speech

May 22, 2011
National Journal


The argument that secrecy and non-disclosure are necessary to uphold the First Amendment rings hollow.
by Eliza Newlin Carney

It’s become popular in certain circles to assail political transparency as a nefarious threat to free speech.

I.R.S. Begins Enforcing Rule on Gifts to Political Nonprofits

May 12, 2011
New York Times

Big donors like David H. Koch and George Soros may owe taxes on their millions of dollars in contributions to nonprofit advocacy groups that are playing an increasing role in American politics.

The Internal Revenue Service has sent letters to at least half a dozen major donors to such groups, informing them that they should have reported their contributions as taxable gifts.

IRS gift tax move could hit new anonymous groups

May 10, 2011

By Ben Smith

The Internal Revenue Service appears to have begun to enforce a tax on gifts to the non-profit organizations that were a key vehicle for anonymous politics in the last five years and had promised to play a large role in the presidential cycle, a move which could reshape the place of money in politics in 2012.

"It appears that the IRS Estate and Gift Tax team has also started paying attention to 501(c)(4) organizations," a Los Angeles tax lawyer who has followed the issue closely, Ofer Lion, wrote in a memo to clients today.

Obama order could make corporate political spending public

May 8, 2011
Chicago Tribune

An executive order being considered by President Obama would require companies bidding for federal contracts to disclose political spending they may now keep secret.

By Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington—
A lobbying battle is raging largely behind the scenes over a seemingly obscure executive order that could — if signed by President Obama — make public the political spending that many corporations can now keep secret.

Democrats, Seduced by Secret Dollars (Editorial)

May 7, 2011
New York Times

Last year several pro-Republican advocacy groups degraded the Congressional elections by spending at least $138 million in secret donations on advertisements. The public did not know which lobbying interests gave money, or how much, or what they would demand in return. But the donations became a significant factor in the Republican gains in the House and the Senate.

Federal Election Commissioner Donald McGahn Criticizes 'Overreach' of Campaign Finance Regulations

March 21, 2011
Open Secrets

By Michael Beckel

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- It isn't too often that a top Federal Election Commission official fesses up to not enforcing campaign finance laws, but that's exactly what Donald McGahn, a Republican commissioner of the FEC, did Saturday.

Citizens United not enough for right

March 18, 2011

By Kenneth P. Vogel - Politico

Not satisfied by the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates to corporate-sponsored election ads, conservative opponents of campaign finance regulations have opened up a series of new legal fronts in their effort to eliminate the remaining laws restricting the flow of money into politics.