Nonprofit Newswire | Legislation That Would Target Most Political Advocacy Groups Exempts NRA

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June 14, 2010; Source: Washington Post | The National Rifle Association seems to have dodged a bullet as the House and Senate come closer to passing legislation that would require the disclosure of the names of groups paying for political advertising. If passed with the compromise intact, the legislation would exempt certain classes of nonprofits from being identified as paying for or contributing to advertising for or against political candidates.

The House bill, along with a similar one in the Senate, is aimed to add back some restrictions in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that gave corporations, unions and nonprofits freedom to spend as much money as they like on political advertising. But, as the Washington Post reports, many “major interest groups objected to some of the disclosure requirements as overly intrusive, particularly those requiring identifying top donors.”

As a result, the compromise would exempt nonprofit groups including the NRA that are least 10 years old, have 1 million members or more, and receive no more than 15 percent of their funding from corporations. The proposed exemption would not apply to the AFL-CIO and other unions.

While keeping some groups’ contributions from the public, at least one campaign reform group isn’t overly concerned. In a statement from Democracy 21, Fred Wertheimer, president, said, “Almost all [501(c)(4)] advocacy groups that make campaign-related expenditures will be covered by the donor disclosure provisions in the legislation, as will c4 groups formed to function as dummy or front groups or to serve as groups to make campaign-related expenditures without disclosing their donors.” Well, at least the NRA won’t worry if they end up shooting themselves in the foot for backing the wrong candidate.—Bruce Trachtenberg