For Immediate Release
June 28, 2000
Amanda Cooper, 212 998–6736
Brennan Center Praises House Passage of Bill Requiring Disclosure of 527 Donors
Today the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to close the loophole that allows 527 political groups to shield their donors from disclosure. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law applauds the House’s passage of this legislation. Our recent study, Buying Time, shows that issue ads placed by groups like these 527s are frequently indistinguishable from candidates’ ads and often negative. We agree with the House of Representatives that if groups are going to engage in this kind of electioneering, they should be subject to disclosure laws. Voters deserve to know who is paying to influence them, and this kind of transparency is a broadly supported way to improve the campaign finance system.
We are also pleased that the House rejected a broader version of this legislation which would have affected other types of tax exempt groups. In his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee about this issue last week, Brennan Center Senior Attorney Glenn Moramarco told the Committee that “527s are unique and should be given special and different treatment.” Mr. Moramarco further testified that, “any group that, by definition, is engaged in political activity, may be subject to reasonable disclosure rules. Section 527 organizations are, by definition, engaged in political advocacy. …Congress should reaffirm what, until recently, everyone assumed was the law.”