Joan Claybrook Statement on Defeat of Taxpayer Protection and Accountability Act, Which Would Have Limited Disclosure by Section 527 Political Groups

April 10, 2002

Joan Claybrook Statement on Defeat of Taxpayer Protection and Accountability Act, Which Would Have Limited Disclosure by Section 527 Political Groups

Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook released the following statement after today’s defeat of the House tax bill (H.R. 3991), which contained a provision that would have reduced disclosure of campaign contributions to and expenditures of Section 527 political groups. 527 groups are chartered by the IRS and are designed to primarily influence elections. Nearly 15,000 are registered with the IRS.

“Today’s vote against a popular tax bill containing a provision, which would have reduced disclosure of special interest campaign contributions and expenditures by 527s, affirms that a strong pro-reform coalition exists in the House. This proposal would have made it more likely that the soft money ban in the recently enacted McCain-Feingold bill could have been circumvented. Where there is reduced disclosure there will be increased attempts to break the rules against federal politicians soliciting soft money for secret accounts. Now Congress must work to improve the 527 disclosure law to make it even more difficult for special interests to use unlimited campaign contributions to pollute our politics. We’re particularly grateful to Reps. Doggett, Rangel, Meehan, Gephardt, Pelosi, Shays and the 24 other reform Republicans who organized opposition to and voted against the bill.”

Public Citizen issued a major report on Section 527 groups yesterday detailing that the top 25 groups not controlled by politicians collected $67.5 million in soft money in the past 18 months. The report also strongly criticizes the current 527 disclosure system maintained by the IRS. The report makes several recommendations for improving the system.

To read the report, click here.

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