New Jersey attorney general blasts IRS' elimination of longtime donor reporting rule

By Marian Johns | Oct 30, 2018

TRENTON —  New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is calling on the Trump administration to explain its recent elimination of a 47-year donor reporting rule requiring social welfare organizations to identify their donors and any so called "dark money" spent on political activity to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Grewal argues that the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which does not require social welfare organizations to disclose their donors to the general public, making the money they spend on any political activity ("dark money"). However, the ruling at least requires the organizations to report substantial contributors in their annual IRS fillings. 

"Not only has the IRS made it easier for dark money groups to hide their sources of the money they are pouring into the political process but the IRS has gone about it in the least transparent way possible," Grewal said. "We are working to get to the bottom of why the IRS has taken this step and what outside influences led the IRS to abandon the donor reporting rule that has existed since the Nixon administration."  

Grewal also argues that the IRS' elimination of the reporting rule affects the mission of New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs Charities Registration Section, which requires some social welfare organizations and tax-exempt organization to submit copies of their IRS filings regarding donor names and addresses. 

Grewal has requested the IRS and U.S. Treasury Department disclose records relating to the new policy as part of a Freedom of Information request. 

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