Tester Opposes Treasury Officials Who Led Defense of IRS Dark Money Rule

Senator: “If we’re looking for a way to drain the swamp, these guys ain’t it”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today opposed two nominees to help lead the U.S. Treasury Department because of their central role in approving and defending the IRS’s “dark money” rule, which would eliminate a longstanding requirement that certain tax-exempt organizations must disclose the identities of big money donors.

“Montanans deserve to know without a shadow of a doubt that their government works for them,” Tester said. “These nominees defended unchecked dark money flowing into our elections and that raises serious concerns about their judgment and integrity. If we’re looking for a way to drain the swamp, these guys ain’t it.”

As General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel for the Treasury Department, Brent McIntosh and Brian Callanan oversaw the division responsible for defending the IRS’s dark money rule change. They were confirmed today by the Senate to their new roles as Treasury Under-Secretary for International Affairs and Treasury General Counsel, respectively.

Last week, Senator Tester—who has led the charge to shine a light on dark money in politics—sent a letter to the Trump Administration urging them to reverse course after the Treasury Department tried to roll back disclosure requirements for a second time earlier this month.

The IRS first attempted to eliminate the 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.