Nonprofit Organizations Become Big Money Political Weapons on the Right and Left

Image from <a href="" target="_blank">the adA recent Supreme Court decision that ended the ban "on political advertisements by corporations, including nonprofit groups, within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election," together with increased scrutiny of "527 groups," may "push more spending on the 2008 [U.S. presidential] election out of the glare of public disclosure." A new South Carolina nonprofit called "Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America" is an early example. The group is running ads in support of a veterans' healthcare bill that enjoys "nearly unanimous, bipartisan support in Congress." The ads include "glowing images of Senator John McCain," whose presidential campaign is "banking on a South Carolina victory." The group was "set up and financed" by McCain supporters, including Rick Reed, the co-producer of the 2004 "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" ads. Unlike 527 groups, the new nonprofit "is allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts from individuals without any disclosure, as long as it can argue that it is more concerned with the promotion of an issue ... than the election of a candidate." McCain, who co-sponsored campaign finance legislation, has asked the group to stop running the ads and is discouraging his supporters from donating to the group. Meanwhile, MoveOn's Tom Matzzie has moved over to run a Democratic Party soft money machine called Campaign to Defend America "that will rival or eclipse what they created in 2004" says the Washington Post.


...from the [,1,3814081.story Los Angeles Times] predicts growing campaign involvement from nonprofits:

By law, nonprofits can keep donors confidential. Although their tax returns are public documents, they contain much less information than campaign finance reports. And because tax returns are filed once a year, money spent in the 2008 election year won't become public until long after votes are counted. ...

New nonprofit groups that are raising millions include [[Americans United for Change]]. Largely funded by unions, it has aired ads attacking congressional Republicans who voted against recent healthcare legislation.

Another is [[Freedom's Watch]]. Created by former aides to President Bush, it focuses on the war, terrorism and the "emerging threat in Iran," said its president, Bradley Blakeman, a former White House aide. The group opened with a $15-million campaign supporting Bush's Iraq war strategy.