Mitch McConnell Just Made It Virtually Impossible to Police Dark Money in 2016

Mother Jones

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Conservative Solutions Project has run more than 4,882 ads in support of Marco Rubio this election—and not a dime of its funding has been made public. As a politically active nonprofit, the outfit is theoretically regulated by the Internal Revenue Service, but thanks to clever legislative maneuvering by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and congressional Republicans, there’s no danger that the IRS will apply any special scrutiny to the people or corporations generously financing this key component of Rubio’s run for president. (His actual campaign unveiled its first ad just a few weeks ago).

Buried deep in the massive end-of-the-year spending bill released late Tuesday night were provisions that not only prohibit the IRS from cracking down on groups like Conservative Solutions Project, but that block the Securities and Exchange Commission from prying into the political spending of public companies.

In last year’s budget deal, McConnell pushed through higher limits for campaign contributions to party organizations, allowing wealthy donors to chip in hundreds of thousands of dollars. During this year’s budget negotiations, McConnell initially tried to further loosen restrictions on how party committees spend money. But he faced strong opposition from an unusual coalition of congressional Democrats and members of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus. The pushback appears to have caused McConnell, a longtime foe of campaign finance rules, to abandon the plan. But he did manage to slip provisions into the legislation that weakened enforcement and transparency when it comes to politically active nonprofits.

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Mitch McConnell Just Made It Virtually Impossible to Police Dark Money in 2016

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