Political Nonprofits Must Name Donors, Courts Decide

Political Nonprofits Must Name Donors, Courts Decide

Effective immediately, nonprofit groups putting money into political campaigns must disclose the names of donors who give more than $200 a year, the Washington Post reports.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in a long-running case, thereby letting stand a decision by Judge Beryl A. Howell, chief justice of the D.C. district court, not to stay a ruling by a federal judge who had thrown out a decades-old Federal Election Commission regulation that allowed nonprofits to keep the names of their donors secret. With less than fifty days until this year's midterm elections, the ruling has far-reaching implications and could curtail the ability of major political players to raise money for their campaigns.

The ruling by Howell will be challenged on appeal. In the meantime, the decision forces nonprofit groups on both the left and the right to reassess how they plan to finance their fall campaigns. "It's unfortunate," FEC chair Caroline Hunter, a Republican appointee, told the Post, "that citizens and groups who wish to advocate for their candidate will now have to deal with a lot of uncertainty less than two months before the election."

Advocates for stricter campaign finance regulations celebrated the decision. "This is a great day for transparency and democracy," Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which brought the case, said in a statement. "We're about to know a lot more about who is funding our elections."