In the last two elections, these groups have spent more money trying to influence votersthan all the political action committees combined
with much of this spending finding its way into the negative attack ads that Americans despise.
Despite their growing role in our elections, we know very little about this new breed of social welfare groups. They often hide behind ambiguous names
for example: Americansfor Prosperity, the Citizen Awareness Project and Freedom Path.
They are often registeredat obscure Post Office boxes, and many have yet to submit a tax filing to the IRS.
These sham nonprofits are not only a threat to our democracy but also to the integrity of ournonprofit sector.Let me give you an example of the type of deceptive practices we should worry about
andI believe we can prevent with the
Attorney General’s regulations. There’s a tax
-exemptnonprofit organization with headquarters in Virginia called the 60 Plus Association. As thename suggests the organization focuses senior issues and presumably fundraises heavily fromindividuals who fit this 60+ demographic.If you look at
the organization’s IRS tax filings, they indicate a mission to “educate, inform
and provide resources to aid senior citizens in pro
tecting their rights.”
It sounds like exactly the type of organization that many seniors would like to support. And if you peruse the
organization’s website you won’t find a single mention of the 60 Plus Association’s
Jonathan Salant, “2012 Campaign Negative as Seemed.” Bloomberg, November 15, 2012. Online at http://go.bloomberg.com/politic
seemed/ And “2012 Outside Spending, by Groups,” The Center for Responsive Politics.
Online at http://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/summ.php?disp=O3
“2012 Outside Spending, by Groups,” The Center for Responsive Politics. Online at
Lee Drutman, “Dark money in the 2012 elections (so far),” Sunlight Foundation.” July 16, 2012. Online at
60 Plus Association Inc., IRS Form 990 for fiscal year 2010, filed March 20, 2012. Online at http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2010/541/564/2010-541564919-08108d83-9OA.pdf