July 27, 2018

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Legislation to Increase Transparency in Elections

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored legislation introduced by Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to overturn a new controversial rule allowing special interests to hide their donations to political campaigns. The Spotlight Act will reverse the Treasury Department’s decision that allows non-profit organizations who engage in political activity to avoid disclosing certain donor information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The bill also requires these organizations to disclose the names of donors to the public, not just the IRS.

“Voters have the right to know when special interests are trying to influence and buy our elections,” said Cortez Masto. “No organization who engages in political activity should be exempt from disclosing their dark money donors. At a time when we see unprecedented election interference and millions of dollars of dark money being spent to mislead voters by billionaires like the Koch Brothers, the Spotlight Act will help protect the integrity of our democracy and ensure voters know where the money for these campaigns is coming from.”

Under current law, 501(c)(3) organizations are required to provide donor information to the IRS, however, the Treasury Secretary has discretion about whether to require donor information for the other types of tax-exempt organizations. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin recently decided he would not collect that information any more.

The Spotlight Act will specifically require three classes of nonprofit organizations (501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), and 501(c)(6)) to disclose publicly and to the IRS the names and information of donors who contribute more than $5,000. 

Text of the bill is available HERE.