FEC says it will enforce disclosure of donors to some nonprofits


Eric Byler, head of the Coffee Party, speaks during a protest in front of the US Supreme Court in February, in Washington, DC. His group and others rallied to urge court justices to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a decision that prohibits the government from putting limits on political spending by corporations and unions.


Alex Wong

The Federal Election Commission said Friday that it would enforce new disclosure rules about nonprofits which fund issue ads, according to The Washington Post.

The rules state that nonprofit groups, which air issue ads that name political candidates but do not urge viewers to vote for or against them, will have to reveal major donors, according to a recent court ruling.

According to Bloomberg, the rules only apply to "electioneering communications," not to "independent expenditures," which profess support or opposition to a candidate.

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The enforcement, which would compel nonprofit groups to reveal the names and addresses of donors giving more than $1,000, could affect nonprofits like the conservative Crossroads GPS and the Democratic Priorities USA, said Politico.

In March, a federal district court found that the FEC's disclosure rules were too narrow, after Rep. Chris Van Hollen sued the agency over its rules.

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Van Hollen said, "This lawsuit is one step forward in our fight to restore the integrity of our electoral process, and will shine an important light on some of the shadowy money that has flooded our elections," according to Bloomberg.

Jason Torchinsky, a lawyer representing one of the groups appealing the decision, said, "This statement clarifies nothing and leaves the regulated entities in a state of limbo - where if they speak they might have to disclose all of their donors if their assessment of what a non-binding press release from the FEC means," Politico reported. "I expect that the March ruling will stand, and that no organization will risk making an electioneering communication until the Van Hollen litigation is resolved."