In formal comments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Governor Steve Bullock today urged the federal tax agency to reject a new policy that would help dark money groups and invite foreign governments to influence American elections.
“I am deeply concerned that the proposed rule will further degrade transparency for so-called ‘dark money’ groups that spend money to influence elections. Most concerning, the proposed rule threatens to invite foreign election influence and thwart the enforcement of state and federal prohibitions on foreign election spending,” wrote Governor Bullock in the letter. “I urge you not to adopt the rule as proposed.”
Governor Bullock’s formal comments come in response to a new proposal by the IRS to eliminate a requirement that certain tax-exempt organizations tell the IRS the source of their major financial donors. The move would help keep the sources of dark money groups’ finances secret and allow for foreign governments to spend money in American elections without scrutiny.
Governor Bullock successfully blocked a prior attempt by the IRS to adopt the policy. Governor Bullock sued the IRS in federal court in 2018. In July of 2019, the United States District Court in Great Falls ruled in favor of the Governor and held that the IRS violated federal law with its proposed change.
The IRS’s invitation for comments is a second attempt to adopt the policy, which would undo transparency rules that have been in place since the Nixon Administration.
In his comments, Governor Bullock also highlighted how the new policy would hurt state governments like Montana’s because it will “create additional hurdles for state revenue agencies and charity regulators charged with making state law tax and compliance determinations,” Bullock said.
Governor Bullock’s comments to the IRS are attached.