Tester Hails Court Ruling Against Dark Money, Pushes for Permanent Action in Congress

U.S. Senator Jon Tester released the following statement on the news that a U.S. District Court judge sided with Montana in the fight against dark money:

“This ruling is a step in the right direction in the fight to get dark money out of our politics. The court said what we already know to be true: special interests should have to disclose their donors so that every American knows who is behind the curtain. But without a law on the books, the IRS or other government agencies could make the same move all over again. That’s why I’m working to pass the Spotlight Act – to codify these disclosure requirements into law and provide the transparency that taxpayers expect from their government.”

Last year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) eliminated a longstanding rule requiring certain tax-exempt organizations to report the identities of large donors who give more than $5,000. Shortly after, Tester introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the decision, ultimately passing in the Senate but falling short in the House of Representatives. At the beginning of this Congress, he introduced his SPOTLIGHT Act to codify the original IRS rule into law.

Separately, the Montana Department of Revenue—eventually joined by the State of New Jersey—filed a lawsuit claiming that the IRS had skipped aspects of their own rulemaking procedures as a method of evading public input. U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris ruled in favor of the Montana Department of Revenue earlier today.