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 Tweet

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
Mike Pence and the Delicate Art of Protest.blog.timesunion.com
rhoffman
11 hours, 40 minutes ago
Views: 303 • Comments: 2 • Rating: -1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
READ THE WHOLE THING: Sexual Violence Is a Hate Crime - National Organization for Women I strongly believe violence against women, and particularly sexual violence, is a hate crime – and that may surprise people, even feminists. On October 2, 2006 a man walked into an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster, County Pennsylvania and shot ...
Birth Control Works
11 hours, 48 minutes ago
Views: 267 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
What I Learned After My Study on Men Secretly Removing Condoms Went Viral But it struck a chord, and somehow managed to trigger an international conversation about assholes who remove condoms during sex without their partners' permission. (Some people call this "stealthing," but I think the term trivializes the harm.) The paper ...
Birth Control Works
22 hours, 37 minutes ago
Views: 313 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
‘Racist’ Flyers Urge Black Chicagoans to Help Deport Latino Neighbors - Pilsen - DNAinfo Chicago CHICAGO — A South Side alderman is slamming a flyer found in neighborhoods around the city asking black Chicagoans to report suspected undocumented residents to immigration agents. The flyer says that "Sanctuary city Policies endanger the lively hood[sic] of ...
Birth Control Works
23 hours, 14 minutes ago
Views: 250 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
You Have One Last Chance to Repent, Sean Hannity….Help me force Sean Hannity to repent. If he doesn't, The Major will bring incredible the damage to Mr. Hannity using the new weapons of The Internet. I tried to warn you, Sean. You didn't listen then. If you choose ...
The Major
1 day, 19 hours ago
Views: 334 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Doctors Argue That Female Genital Mutilation Is Protected Under First Amendment Two doctors in Detroit, along with one of their wives, are about to take the first religious defense of female genital mutilation to a US Federal court. The case stems from a FBI investigation into Dr. Jumana Nagarwala after ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 21 hours ago
Views: 438 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 3 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
Letters From Women Pleading for Abortion, Sent in 1917, Mirror Emails Sent Today In the early 1900s, desperate American women wrote letters to the founder of Planned Parenthood begging for help with unwanted pregnancies. A century later, they're sending eerily similar messages to an international abortion-by-mail service. "I'm in the family way ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 23 hours ago
Views: 397 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
Pregnant Women Are Being Arrested for Crimes They Didn’t Know They Committed Laurie was five months pregnant when she used methamphetamine. She'd previously been on anxiety medication, but her doctor switched her to an opiate when she told him she had history for drug addiction. She said the opiate made her ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 23 hours ago
Views: 5,661 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 17
Comments: 1
: 17
Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Extremism - Carter Center Violent extremism fractures communities, fosters division, and exacerbates political conflicts. It knows no religious, national, or ethnic boundaries. Violent extremist movements continue to fuel the world’s most violent wars in Africa and the Middle East, and right-wing ethno-nationalist extremism ...
Birth Control Works
2 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 312 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
Love It or Hate It-What Saudi Arabia Is Buying in Its $110 Billion Arms Deal Huge deals with israel, and Saudi Arabia. Our industrial war machine grows apace. TanksSaudi Arabia is expecting 153 M1A1/A2 tank structures, which will be turned into 133 Saudi-specification M1A2S main battle tanks. Twenty additional tanks will replace those from ...
Unshaken Defiance
2 days, 5 hours ago
Views: 408 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1