Tester, Wyden Introduce Legislation to Force a Vote to Overturn Controversial Dark Money Rule

Senators Introduce Congressional Review Act Resolution to Protect Democracy from Special Interests

(U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and U.S. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are introducing legislation that will overturn the U.S. Treasury Department’s controversial new decision that allows special interests to hide their donors from the IRS.

The Senators are introducing a Congressional Review Act resolution, an aggressive legislative tool that can force a Senate vote on the issue.

“We must crack down on the dark money flooding our political system, that’s why we are taking an aggressive approach and introducing this legislation to protect our democracy and hold special interests accountable with transparency,” said Tester. “We cannot allow special interests to hide in the darkness.”

“This measure reverses course on an undemocratic Trump agenda to empower shadowy groups that seek to buy our elections,” Wyden said. “It couldn’t come at a more important time. Over the next few weeks political ads will be flooding the airwaves. Because of the Trump administration’s new dark money rule, tax authorities won’t know whether those ads are being paid for by foreign governments or individuals. Opposition against my resolution with Senator Tester is an endorsement of the Trump administration’s plan to further cripple campaign finance transparency.”

In July, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service eliminated the requirement for certain tax-exempt organizations to report the identities of major donors to the IRS. This allows certain “dark money” and tax-exempt non-profit organizations that engage in political activity to hide their donors.

“The IRS’s decision to give mega-donors and Big Money special interests more secrecy with their political spending goes against what the majority of Americans want. Voters deserve to know who’s behind the seemingly unlimited money that’s trying to influence their vote and their government, “said End Citizens United Action Fund President Tiffany Muller. “ECU thanks Senators Tester and Wyden for their leadership, and Congress should pass this CRA immediately. It would shine a much-needed light on political nonprofits that spend hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle in the shadows.”

Under the Congressional Review Act, members of Congress must introduce a disapproval resolution within 60 calendar days from when the final rule was issued. After twenty calendar days, the resolution can be discharged from Finance Committee without a Committee vote. At that point, a motion to proceed to the resolution may be made on the Senate floor, so long as it is supported, in writing, by at least 30 Senators.

In July, Tester and Wyden introduced the Spotlight Act to overturn the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service rule and take it one step further by requiring 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5) and 501(c)(6) organizations to disclose their donors to the public, not just the IRS. This legislation is supported by 29 Senators.

You can read the Senators’ Congressional Review Act Resolution HERE.