In the world of nonprofit “dark money” groups, nothing is as it seems: political committees, through the magic of the internal revenue code, become tax-exempt “social welfare” organizations; a partisan campaign ad becomes principled “issue advocacy”; and federal election law that requires public disclosure of donors is rendered toothless by regulatory loopholes.
The flow of cash through organizations asserting tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the federal tax code has been rising exponentially, from just $5.2 million in 2006 to $310.8 million in 2012.
There is one reason for this growth: 501(c)(4) groups do not have to reveal their donors. [cont.]
Tom Edsall (Columbia U.), New York Times