July 25, 2018; OpenSecrets.org
Montana Governor Steve Bullock has filed suit in a Montana federal district court seeking to prevent the relaxation of rules for certain types of nonprofits, including 501c4s, to disclose identifying information on their donors. This, of course, renders dark money even darker.
The lawsuit, which seeks to have the new rules nullified, alleges they unlawfully interfere with Montana’s ability to gather the data it needs to manage its tax laws. The suit also claims the Trump administration did not follow the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires agencies like the Treasury Department to provide opportunities for public comment before changing policies.
Hey there, quick update: I’m suing the IRS over dark money. pic.twitter.com/SeMU7NR6UW
— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) July 24, 2018
In a video announcing the suit, Bullock says, “We’ve been working for 10 years to make sure that corporations can’t control our elections….Just last week, the Secretary of Treasury made it so that corporations, foreign interests—anybody could give to dark money groups, and the IRS wouldn’t even collect their names. I think Americans certainly deserve better.”
As Bullock said in a related statement, “We’re coming up on the most momentous midterm election in a generation. The IRS and the administration are sending absolutely the wrong message at the wrong time: Spend money to get corporate interests elected, and we’ll work to cover your tracks.”
In 2015, Bullock worked to advance the Disclose Act in Montana, which requires organizations, whether for profit or nonprofit, to disclose their donors if they spend money in state elections. The measure received bipartisan support. He also enacted an executive order that calls for state government contractors to reveal any dark money spending they do in state elections.—Ruth McCambridge