19 June 2016

Secret-money groups, some with Southern ties, may have broken election laws

By Alex Kotch

Nonprofits that spend on elections but are not required to disclose their donors have grown dramatically in number since 2010, when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Citizens United v. Federal Elections Committee decision loosening restrictions on money in politics. That year, secret-money groups spent roughly $7.2 million on federal elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. So far in the current election cycle, they have spent more than five times as much — $36.9 million, already surpassing the 2014 total.

But as nonprofit political activity has increased, many of these so-called "social welfare" nonprofits appear to have broken campaign finance laws — and watchdog groups are demanding the government take action.


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