As you probably know, the Obama Administration has received a great deal of heat and well-deserved criticism for trying to force politically-active 501(c)(4) non-profits to disclose the identity of their donors.
What you may not know is that a Texas bill to accomplish the same thing* is now sitting on Gov. Perry’s desk–and he’s actually considering signing it.
(*-To be fair, there is at least one difference: the Texas bill specifically exempts labor unions and affiliates. Lovely, eh?)
Via the Texas Tribune:
SB 346, by state Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, would force tax-exempt, politically active nonprofits that fall under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code — the part that oversees groups involved in “social welfare” — to disclose their donors. The bill, which would affect major political givers on both sides of the aisle, originally passed the Senate 23-6; a day later, led by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, senators voted 21-10 to reverse themselves, some saying they hadn’t understood what the bill required. Seliger said at the time that his colleagues had faced heavy lobbying by major political donors to change their votes.
The bill in question, SB-346, by Amarillo Republican Kel Seliger, would change the state election code so that 501(c)(4) nonprofits operating in the political realm would be required to disclose their donors, as political action committees (PACs) already must do. On Tuesday, the bill was met with little discussion and passed the chamber with a 23-6 vote. Patrick’s recall resolution cleared the Senate in a 21-10 vote.
From now on political nonprofit groups will have to post any contributions being received from lawmakers or money going towards political campaigns thanks to a bill passed in the Texas Senate and now House.
The bill, authored by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, and carried in the House by Rep. Charlie Geren, R-River Oaks, would require all political groups or 501.C4 organizations disclose who is bringing the money in and where it is going.
Lex Politico (opinion):
The bill would basically expand the legal definition of “political committee” to capture more groups and require them to report the name, address, and other information with respect to persons who donate more than $1,000 to the group. At first glance, that sounds innocuous. But it is entirely unnecessary given the current definitions in the Election Code. It would also impose a substantial burden on many nonprofits and chill free speech.
If you believe it’s none of the government’s business who donates to your non-profit group, you would be well-advised to call Governor Perry NOW and ask him to VETO SB346. If Governor Perry does not veto the bill, the donor disclosure demands recently made by Obama’s IRS will become mandatory under Texas law.
Governor Perry’s contact info: