Anonymous Donations Made Easy Through Non-Profits

Monday, July 09, 2012

As the race for the White House intensifies, so does the question of campaign financing. And the answer to where the money is coming, and how it is reaching candidates, is only getting more complicated. 

Despite the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, a new report from the New York Times reveals that corporations aren’t putting very much money into super PACs. Instead, they're increasingly channeling their money through tax-exempt non-profits anonymously.

When corporations donate to super PACs, this is disclosed in a donor list, even if they choose to donate anonymously. But when a corporation donates money though a non-profit, that corporation can actually remain anonymous.

Richard Briffault is a professor at Columbia Law School and has been following changes in campaign financing. 

Guests:

Richard Briffault

Produced by:

Paul R. Smith

Comments [6]

Roma

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Mar. 07 2013 05:19 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

Funny how rightwingers, illustrated by comments from _listener_, _DLMC_and _Charles_, are all for "hidden" money in public speech when most are religiously/dogmatically/ideologically tied to "free-markets" (sic; ideal/utopian).

It's pretty easy to trace where the money comes from with regards to public radio. Try that with Crossroads and US Chamber of Commerce.

Also, both democracy and capitalism are expected to be open and thus are rough sport, which thus opens everyone up to public scrutiny. Surprised that's a question and no wonder corps and individuals want to hide themselves from antagonistic, self-interested, anti-democratic positions.

Finally, the message is lost among many rightwing fundamentalists who espouse free-market, libertarian ideals, which _necessarily_ depend on transparency and trust to both make and move them. (To say nothing about transparency in democracy.)It's just that it is politically expedient in that they prefer the current crop of candidates who benefit most from dark money _legally_ hidden in nonprofit advocacy organizations. There are many ways that democracy expresses itself in this US republic, hidden money is not among them (sheisty).

Jul. 09 2012 05:26 PM
Charles

Celeste asks a wonderful question: Why wouldn't we want to regulate the accuracy of information coming out of state-sponsored institutions? Most particularly information relevant to upcoming elections?

I'd like to suggest that we start with regulating the content of information coming out of WNYC. And particularly all of the messages being delivered by Celeste Headlee.

Jul. 09 2012 11:01 AM
Charles

Why is it, that every story on public radio about 501(c)(4) corporations is told with a sense of fear and laothing about "Crossroads GPS", without mentioning that the NAACP, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and MoveOn.org all operate units that are 501(c)(4) corporations?

Jul. 09 2012 10:58 AM
DLMC

Every law that has attempted to control money in politics has failed. The liberal media did not put up much of an outcry when Candidate Obama threw public campaign financing under the bus.

I used to favor disclosure. With twitter, internet etc. things are getting out of control. Business boycotts, marching on individuals homes. The vicious attacks on small businesses after the gay marriage debate in CA were over the top. For safety purposes I no longer favor disclosure - thanks to the over reaction of a scary minority.

Jul. 09 2012 09:19 AM
listener

Is it a problem when public radio says 2+2=6.9 and shades the truth in favor of a candidate using public funds? Is it a problem when private media corporations worth billions of dollars favor one candidate over another in their programming?

So much concern about private money used in free political speech yet didn't some of the billions of tax provided dollars in the stimulus go to Obama friendly unions and other Democratic Party supporters?
In this election year where does official Presidential business paid with taxes end and the Obama campaign using donations begin?

When the President panders to specific groups in an election year for obvious political effect, it is our money he is being generous with to advance his personal and political agenda and that amounts to billions of dollars which sort of dwarfs the most super of super PACS?

A private company and private contrinuters using their own money for political speech is suspect yet a President using a trillion dollars of other peoples money to advance his own political agenda is noble?

Jul. 09 2012 08:42 AM

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