Despite the fact that the American public broadly supports greater political disclosure rules, Republican leaders in the Senate are pressuring the IRS to not update tax rules governing super-PAC’s.
From The Hill:
In a letter sent Monday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) and nine other GOP members, urged IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman to resist “partisan political gains” when it comes to updating decades-old rules pertaining to the nonprofit groups. Signing on to the letter were members of Senate GOP leadership, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.).
They want to know if the IRS has already begun work on updating regulations pertaining to those groups, warning that any quick alterations in the midst of a heated political fight over super-PAC spending could undermine the agency’s apolitical reputation.
Joining McConnell and Kyl on the letter were Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), John Cornyn (Texas), John Thune (S.D.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), and Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas).
Republican efforts come after Senate Democrats urged the agency to update its regulations on 501(c)(4) groups, requiring that any group identifying as such must adhere to a strict percentage-based cap on political activities. Those Senate Democrats also said the IRS should require all groups to disclose upfront to donors how much of their activity is political.
Shulman responded to the Democrats, saying the IRS was aware of public concerns over super-PAC’s and “will consider proposed changes” to the pertinent regulations.
Maybe this piece in the New York Times can shine some light on Republican opposition to electoral transparency. Much like the Wisconsin recall elections, outside cash is pouring into the Missouri Senate race to try and unseat Democrat Claire McCaskill. McCaskill, a popular and moderate Democrat is just the kind of candidate that resonates with independent voters. She’s known as a tough but fair collaborator.
So it’s no wonder that Karl Rove, David and Charles Koch and the US Chamber of Commerce has dumped as much as $15 million into the race since July 2011. McCaskill is an elected official interested in reasonable solutions, not partisan gridlock and party power. Voters, almost instinctively, find the kind of outside meddling and money brought by Rove, the Koch brothers, and the Chambers offensive. And they should. It’s the basest form of politicking and it is ruining our country, but instead of offering leadership and solutions Republicans want to keep things just as they are.
Photo from 401K 2012 via flickr.