Maybe it's just me. Having been involved in political campaigns for both my father, and one of my very good friends, it's very possible that I am just jaded to the whole process of elections, but recent developments with Media Matters have me seeing a conspiracy. Although even the most casual observer would see that the 501C3 status afforded Media Matters, a very clear left wing political organization, is dubious at best, the same could be said for other organizations on both sides of the political spectrum. The reason I have chosen to single them out is a great deal more insidious. Please keep in mind that I am not leveling any kind of accusations here, I am merely pointing out the potential for massive abuse of our electoral process.
As most folks are aware, political donations are not tax deductible. In fact, any political mailings that include a solicitation for donations must include a disclaimer similar to this:
"Contributions or gifts to [name of organization] are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes".
Of course, 501C3 organizations like Media Matters receive tax exempt status, and donations to their coffers wind up being considered charitable donations for tax purposes. You can take a look at the donor form for Media Matters right here. That's all fine and dandy. Whatever process they followed to gain that exemption has been scrutinized by far more committed and intelligent conservatives than I, but it sets the stage for a very nasty situation.The head of media matters, David Brock, has recently thrown his hat into the Super PAC ring with the formation of American Bridge 21st Century. Again, not that big a deal, right? WRONG!
Most political observers know about the Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission case, where corporate donors to political campaigns were afforded the same rights that individuals were allowed under the 1st Amendment. In a nutshell, this allowed for the birth of the Super PAC, an organization that is allowed to accept unlimited contributions (from corporations, unions, private individuals and non-profits) without any requirement for disclosure of the origin of the contributions, and use them to support the political candidates and causes of their choice. Do you see where I am going here?
Being the head of a non-profit and the head of a Super PAC is a recipe for the largest variety of political fraud there is! At this very moment, David Brock has the capacity (Again not leveling accusations, just identifying a horrifying possibility) to solicit donations for Media Matters, offering donors the ability to write donations off on their tax returns and subsequently have Media Matters donate the funds directly to American Bridge 21st Century. The worst part of the whole thing is that the nature of a Super PAC would allow this to occur without having to disclose the transfer of funds.
I don't know David Brock, and can speak for neither his head, nor his heart. I can, however, identify the existence of a situation so incredibly tempting for a political operator and campaign finance bundler as to prove almost irresistible. Whether or not you agree with the idea of Super PACs, this conflict of interest is so dramatic, and the possibility for fraud both so simple, and so enormous, that there has to be some kind of parameters set for its prevention. Please reach out to elected officials from both parties and let them know that this kind of relationship is so unhealthy for the political environment, and so potentially detrimental to the electoral process that it absolutely must be stopped!