Enclosed for your information is a letter sent by Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), ranking Democratic member on the Senate Finance Committee.

Today in the markup for the Senate Finance Committee that begins at 11 a.m., Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) are expected to offer an amendment to the tax extenders bill that would block the IRS from taking any action on new 501(c)(4) regulations. This would serve to perpetuate the improper laundering of huge sums of secret contributions into federal elections.

See the letter below.

 July 21, 2015

Senator Ron Wyden

Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee


Dear Senator Wyden,

Democracy 21 strongly opposes the amendment expected to be offered to the tax extenders bill today by Senators Rob Portman and Pat Roberts that would suspend for one year any IRS rulemaking related to 501(c)(4)s, including the new candidate-related political activity definition.

The existing IRS regulations governing eligibility for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status are contrary to law. The regulations fail to comply with the statutory language requiring such groups to engage “exclusively” in “social welfare” activities, and fail to comply with federal court decisions interpreting the statutory language.

As a result, the existing IRS regulations are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in secret contributions being improperly laundered into federal elections by campaign organizations posing as “social welfare” groups. The Portman-Roberts amendment to block the adoption of proper new regulations would continue to allow huge sums of secret contributions to be improperly laundered into our elections.

Democracy 21 strongly urges you to take all possible steps to block the Portman-Roberts amendment from being enacted.



Fred Wertheimer

President, Democracy 21