Does Super PAC spending have implications for non-political non-profit groups?

Millions of Americans are angry — and rightfully so — about the way that Super PACs are pumping millions of dollars into this year’s election campaigns while hiding the identity of the multi-millionaires and corporations that are providing the money. Nobody, after all, spends so extravagantly without expecting to get something in return.

So how do those donors remain anonymous? They hide behind tax laws, giving their money to non-profit “charities,” like Republican strategist Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS or the pro-President Obama Priorities USA, both “social welfare” organizations registered under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Those groups pass the cash to the Super PACs in their own names or spend it themselves on political advertising.

In an essay published today by Non-Profit Quarterly, Common Cause President Bob Edgar examines how this new wave of political activity by a relative handful of non-profits might impact the entire non-profit community. Will Congress impose new disclosure requirements to force all non-profits, including those that don’t dabble in politics, to reveal their donors? Will the public’s anger at the new political non-profits depress charitable giving across the board?

You can read Bob’s full essay here.

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