Much was made over the controversial Citizen United Supreme Court decision and subsequent unlimited political campaign funding observed during the 2010 and 2012 elections breaking all previoius spending levels. In tadem with this, questionable tax-exempt nonprofits began freely dumping large sums into political campaigns, most prominently on Republican campaigns. The struggle to find who these large donors were found their way into the courts where judgements fluctuated erradically depending on the who heard each case. At one point Karl Rove’s nonprofit attached to his SuperPAC, Crossroads was ordered to make its funding sources public but he refused waiting for a favorable appeal. Unfortunately, his appeal was successful and the voting public was blocked from finding out who was contributing such large sums of money.
One of the more influential of these nonprofits, the State Government Leadership Foundation, was able to maintain donor secrecy throughout recent campaigns. Their activity over the years are reported to have included funded consultants for Republican redistricting in North Carolina and provided funding for anti-union and Democrat opposition ads in numerous states. The donors were kept secret until a ProPublica IRS records request revealed what many have been trying so hard to find out, who those funders actually were.
Big Corporations Put Up Seed Funding for Republican Dark Money Group
Some of the nation’s biggest corporations donated more than a million dollars to launch a Republican nonprofit that went on to play a key role in recent political fights.
A records request by ProPublica to the IRS turned up a list of the original funders of the group: Exxon, Pfizer, Time Warner, and other corporations put up at least 85 percent of the $1.3 million the foundation raised in the first year and a half of its existence, starting in 2003.
The donor list is stamped “not for public disclosure,” and was submitted to the IRS as part of the foundation’s application for recognition of tax-exempt status. If approved, such applications are public records.
The foundation and other similar nonprofits are allowed to take anonymous and unlimited donations from individuals or corporations. That’s because they are classified as “social welfare” nonprofits, which are supposed to benefit the community at large, and not just one group or political party.