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Anti-Dark Money Political Debate Continues in Montana This Week

Statement of Emily Peterson-Cassin, Bright Lines Project Coordinator, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Note: Today, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris is scheduled to hear a motion to dismiss Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service. The lawsuit seeks to block the elimination of requirements that some politically active tax-exempt social welfare organizations disclose the identities of their major donors to the IRS.

 At a time when U.S. elections have been flooded with unregulated outside and often untraceable political donations, the Trump administration’s solution is to open those dark money floodgates even wider.

As an alternative to offering Americans a campaign finance system that provides transparency and clarity on political donations, the government is instead choosing to allow more dark money to be thrown at voters. By failing to disclose the identities of major donors to the IRS, many tax-exempt organizations will give nefarious political actors more room to game the system. The cancelled disclosures to the IRS were among the only times enforcers would ever be able to detect illegal foreign spending in our elections. This was the wrong decision by the Trump Treasury department.