Several 501(c)(4) groups are gearing up to support particular 2016 presidential candidates, a new step in the evolution of nonprofit politicking, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Tax-exempt organizations are doing research and policy development for a half-dozen hopefuls, including Republicans hopefuls Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal, and are expected to spend heavily on advertising and voter mobilization as the campaign progresses.
Such groups, which are not required to disclose donors, have taken on a major political role in the wake of court rulings allowing unlimited donations to entities that do not work directly with a campaign or party. But the number of groups aligned with single candidates, and the early start they are getting in the election cycle, are new, the Journal writes. Two members of the Federal Election Commission petitioned the agency on Monday to tighten disclosure rules, saying outside groups "appear to be closely associated with particular candidates."