Court Action May Lift Anonymity For Some Campaign Donors | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Court Action May Lift Anonymity For Some Campaign Donors

Play associated audio

Nonprofit groups that want to run campaign ads within two months of the general election have to reveal the names of their donors. That's the result of a federal appeals court action on campaign finance law.

Several weeks ago, a federal court in Washington told the Federal Election Commission it could not allow the buyers of tens of millions of dollars' worth of ads to remain anonymous.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit late Monday, on a 2-to-1 vote, refused to grant a stay of that decision pending appeal. It ordered the full appeal to be heard sometime this fall.

At issue is the ability of tax-exempt groups that run political ads within two months of the general election — or within one month of a primary — to keep secret the names of their donors. Such groups spent some $80 million in the 2010 congressional elections, primarily supporting conservative candidates or attacking their opponents. The donors behind less than 10 percent of that amount were ever disclosed.

"It's a very important victory in the battle to end the secret contributions that are currently being funneled into federal elections," said Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21, the liberal group that worked with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., to sue the FEC.

The ruling applies specifically to so-called electioneering communications. Not addressed were nonprofit groups that make what are called "independent expenditures" in campaigns. Those are covered in a different section of campaign finance law.

Wertheimer says his group is contemplating a second lawsuit seeking to disclose the donors who finance those forms of ads as well.

S.V. Dáte is the congressional editor for NPR's Washington Desk.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Angelina Jolie On Her Film's 'Unbroken' Hero: 'He Was Truly A Great Man'

Louis Zamperini was an Olympian before he enlisted in World War II and became a prisoner of war. Jolie says he told her to "make a film that reminds people that they have greatness inside themselves."
NPR

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

For the Japanese, Christmastime means sponge cake. But a nationwide butter shortage has lead to mandatory butter rationing, forcing cake bakers to seek out substitutes.
WAMU 88.5

Hogan Cabinet Appointments Expected In Annapolis Today

Maryland governor-elect Larry Hogan will announce some of his cabinet appointments today, but there's no early indication which positions he will fill.

NPR

Major Movie Theater Chains Drop 'The Interview' After Threats

Audie Cornish talks with LA Times Hollywood Editor Joe Bel Bruno about the latest surrounding hacker threats to Sony and theaters showing the film, The Interview.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.