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Anonymous Donations From “Nonprofit” Groups To Politicians

2015-10-13

Here is the evil underside of the money pumped into political campaigns: 501c4 groups authorized by the IRS as nonprofits with anonymous donors, claimed by the groups to be engaged in spending on “social welfare.”  They are supposedly making videos shown on television as education for the public but in many cases their sole video output is clearly advertisements for a particular candidate.

An example is Senator Marco Rubio.  A nonprofit group, with anonymous donations of $18 million so far, has spent  $5.5 million, so far, exclusively on videos shown on TV promoting his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President.  The donations are of course “anonymous” but it is well known that Rubio has courted Sheldon Adelson, a casino mogul.  Rubio has gone so far as to support a ban on Internet gambling, a position which Adelson favors because such gambling represents competition for his casinos in Las Vegas.  No doubt there are many other positions that Rubio supports which Adelson favors.  Lower taxes on wealthy people are one example.  Regulations that favor Adelson’s position and profitability in Las Vegas are another.

Rubio is depending completely on this nonprofit, run by close associates who were formerly part of his formal campaign, so completely that he hasn’t spent any of his campaign’s money on TV advertising.  Even his super PAC hasn’t laid out anything for TV ads.

We don’t know, of course, that Adelson is Rubio’s only wealthy supporter.  It is possible that several people are behind Rubio, but we won’t know by perusing the source of TV ads promoting him.  The IRS is overextended and has little time available for investigating 501c4 organizations.  In fact, the IRS has suffered political setbacks related to its policies in evaluating such groups.  A scandal in which IRS employees were alleged to use discriminatory criteria in deciding which groups to investigate was manufactured in an attempt to prevent the IRS from investigating controversial conservative groups.  The 501c4 groups are clearly abusing their tax-exempt status in another attempt to shift the costs of their propaganda to the taxpayers.

Rubio’s positions on the issues are almost identical with the other Republican candidates.  He opposes “Net neutrality” because he claims that it would be too much regulation on Internet providers.  He says the corporate tax rate should be reduced to 25%. while retaining all of their deductions; there should be only two individual federal tax rates, 15 and 35 percent, and taxes on capital gains should be eliminated, since the current tax treatment of capital gains is not liberal enough.  He proposes freezing all federal spending at 2008 levels except defense spending, which should be increased.  He demands repeal of “Obamacare” (the ACA) and its replacement with tax credits and “fewer regulations.”  He also wants to ban abortion after 20 weeks.

This post was inspired by an article in the New York Times discussing Rubio’s activities and his spending on TV ads.

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