Secret Persuasion: How Big Campaign Donors Stay Anonymous : NPR

As we’ve been saying for years: the Tea Party and other true believers are just fundamentalists in fiscal conservative clothing

MP3 Audio

As tax-exempt organizations become a vehicle of choice for big political donors, one powerful appeal is the anonymity. Federal laws allow tax-exempt groups - unlike political committees - to withhold their donor lists from disclosure.

And some groups take the low profile a step further. An investigation by NPR and the Center for Responsive Politics found a tier of social welfare groups that operate behind the scenes, raising money and doling it out to other, more public groups, while reporting those grants to the IRS only annually.

One pioneer in this activity is the Wellspring Committee, founded in 2008. Based in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, it has raised $24 million, and distributed nearly $16.9 million to other social welfare groups. Using tax records, the NPR-CRP investigation identified three of its donors - other social welfare groups - and found they accounted for just over $251,000, or one percent of Wellspring’s revenues.

NPR’s Power, Money and Influence Correspondent Peter Overby reported this story with Viveca Novak, editorial director, and Robert Maguire, political nonprofits investigator, from the Center for Responsive Politics. For this investigation, they used tax records to map out the relationships between social welfare organizations. To dive deeper into this story, you can explore CRP’s database tracking political nonprofit spending since 2008.

The reporting team also wrote more about the Wellspring Committee. Continue reading at opensecrets.org: Wellspring’s Flow: Dark Money Outfit Helped Fuel Groups on Political Front Lines

Wellspring’s president is Ann Corkery, an active figure within the social conservative movement. Over the years, she has been involved with the National Organization for Marriage, Catholic League and other groups working on social issues.

Wellspring, however, says it focuses on economic matters. It told the IRS in its application for tax-exempt status that it would “assist other like-minded organizations in promoting free market policies and principles.” It also would help other organizations “in developing messaging strategies,” apparently drawing on Corkery’s experience as a lawyer specializing in reputation campaigns.

More: Secret Persuasion: How Big Campaign Donors Stay Anonymous : NPR

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Recent PagesClick to refresh
WikiLeaks Just Published Tons of Credit Card and Social Security NumbersSo, this is a thing: The organization has also used that tradition of transparency for less just causes, like today when the site published 19,252 emails from top US Democratic National Committee members, many of which included personal information about ...
jhncsy
18 minutes ago
Views: 21 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Energized White Supremacists Cheer Trump Convention Message And far from hiding in chat rooms or under white sheets, they cheered the GOP presidential nominee from inside the Republican National Convention over the last week. While not official delegates, they nevertheless obtained credentials to attend the party's ...
Thanos
12 hours, 48 minutes ago
Views: 138 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Enterprise Pitch for Cisco Ericsson Partnership After seven months of near silence, Cisco and Ericsson executives publicly discussed details on their extensive partnership. Among the tidbits shared by Martin Zander, VP, group strategy programs, Ericsson, and Doug Webster, VP service provider marketing, Cisco: The partnership ...
Thanos
13 hours, 59 minutes ago
Views: 110 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 3 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
WONDER WOMAN Comic-Con Trailer Her Fight Is Ours. WATCH the official Comic-Con trailer for #WonderWoman, starring Gal Gadot!--Gal Gadot stars in WONDER WOMAN - in theaters June 2, 2017.Follow #WonderWoman on social media:Facebook: facebook.comTwitter: twitter.comInstagram: instagram.com--WONDER WOMANFrom Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Entertainment ...
Thanos
18 hours, 59 minutes ago
Views: 141 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Dem Suggests Race Factored Into Obama Senate Endorsement Democrats should not be making assumptions about identity politics, this year or any other year. But Sanchez on Friday said race may have had something to do with the endorsement. "I think they have, what he said they have, ...
Thanos
20 hours, 18 minutes ago
Views: 185 • Comments: 3 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Hillary Clinton: We Don’t Need Candidates Who ‘Talk Trash About America’ AMPA, Fla. — Hillary Clinton made no mention of her potential running mate during a rally here Friday evening, instead delivering a fiery rebuttal to Donald Trump's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. "The last thing we need ...
Thanos
21 hours, 52 minutes ago
Views: 121 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Family Tree: Bill, Chelsea and More Relatives We all know Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton. But what about the extended Rodham and Clinton families? Both Clintons have family members who haven’t been talked about much recently, and the family is expanding, with a second grandchild born ...
Thanos
21 hours, 57 minutes ago
Views: 241 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Blast at Kabul Demonstration Kills 81, Injures 286 KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 81 people were killed and 286 wounded Saturday in a twin bombing claimed by the Islamic State group that targeted a demonstration by members of the Hazara minority, officials and witnesses said. The marchers ...
Thanos
22 hours, 3 minutes ago
Views: 238 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
No Compassion: Far-Right Catholic Group Gloats Over Defeat of Bill to Help Victims of Clerical Abuse A few days ago, I receive the July-August issue of Catalyst, the newsletter of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. If you’re not familiar with the Catholic League, it’s a right-wing outfit that exists mainly to scream ...
Thanos
23 hours, 51 minutes ago
Views: 381 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 53 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Likes: 3
Comments: 0
: 4
Energy Company That Heats and Cools Downtown Kansas City Is Going Green A rooftop restaurant on a downtown office building. A quick-melting ice rink in Sprint Center. A vanishing coal pile at the Missouri riverfront. They have nothing in common — unless you know about the network of heating and cooling ...
Thanos
1 day, 3 hours ago
Views: 136 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0