Campaign Finance Reform: The Unintended Consequences

Nonprofits of all political stripes are injecting themselves into the presidential primaries in a big way, reports today’s Washington Post. Unlike the 527 political groups, which were big players in 2004, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit lobby group doesn’t have to reveal the names of its donors. And there is no restriction on how much money a (c)(4) can spend to promote its candidate’s cause (as long as the group doesn’t actually say “Vote for X.”)

Groups like Common Cause are always behind the curve. They are still trying to rein in the 527s when the action has moved to (c)(4) groups; they want limits on campaign spending, which the Supreme Court has invalidated; and they want public financing of campaigns, which even liberal candidates reject because it can’t generate enough money.

Robert Huberty

Robert Huberty served as vice president of the Capital Research Center.
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