Front Groups Lobbying Spurs Thoughts of Non-Profit Reform

Citing instances where groups like Citizens Against Government Waste and Americans for Tax Reform have accepted corporate funding to lobby for their donors' causes, journalist Bill Adair explores whether greater disclosure by non-profit groups is warranted. Between them, the two groups have taken money from the tobacco industry, helped avocado growers and assisted in Jack Abramoff's lobbying efforts. The incoming Democratic Party chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, has flagged the need for change: "Nonprofits should not function as de facto lobbying firms." Current federal laws he said are "simply too murky." Frances Hill, a law professor at the University of Miami, agrees. "It seems to me we have to find a way to increase the disclosure of the contributors. I'm not talking about every church in America disclosing who gives money to their collection plate. But there's got to be a way to show who gives big chunks of money," she said.