Tester Urges Reversal as IRS Rolls Out Rule to Allow More Dark Money in Politics

Trump Administration rolls out another controversial dark money rule that allows special interest groups to hide their donors

As the Internal Revenue Service today rolls out a new rule to allow special interest groups to hide their donors, U.S. Senator Jon Tester, who has led the charge to shine a light on dark money in politics, penned a letter to the Trump Administration urging the proposal be rescinded.

“I write to express my deep concerns about the proposed regulation to eliminate donor disclosure requirements for certain tax-exempt organizations,” Tester wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. “The proposed regulation would allow special interest groups to hide their donors from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and increase the amount of dark money flooding our political system. It would also undercut the government’s ability to prevent foreign influence in our elections. I urge the IRS to rescind this proposal that threatens our democracy.”

The letter continues by urging support for Tester’s Spotlight Act, which would make it easier for Americans to know who is donating to certain campaigns and decrease the ability of foreign countries to influence our elections: “Americans from across the political spectrum support bringing greater transparency to our elections. I urge you to halt the implementation of this proposed rule, and instead, work to get dark money out of our political system by supporting the Spotlight Act.”

The IRS first attempted to eliminate a longstanding rule requiring certain tax-exempt organizations to report the identities of large donors who give more than $5,000 last year. 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 reintroduced his SPOTLIGHT Act to codify the original IRS rule into law and require information about these big money donors be made publically available.

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 last month.

Read the full letter HERE.