Political spending in the U.S. is about to become even more secretive after the IRS this week dropped a requirement that many nonprofits have to provide lists of their major donors. The federal government will stop collecting donor information from certain types of nonprofit groups, including business associations, labor unions and “social welfare” organizations, which have become major players in the nation’s politics over the past decade. Election watchdogs, already concerned about opaque political funding, say the lack of transparency could get worse and make it easier for certain groups to take money from foreign entities. “Taking away a law enforcement tool is not a good idea, especially when one of the things this information could do is help look for foreign money being funneled into elections,” said Ian Vandewalker, a lawyer who works on campaign finance issues at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU. Meanwhile, the conservative groups that dominate this kind of political giving are supporting the announcement. It was made late Monday, the same day President Donald Trump dominated the news cycle for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Dan Backer, a campaign finance lawyer whose clients include Great America Alliance, a social welfare group… Read full this story
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