Kristi Noem doesn’t want you to know which fatcats are pouring the Meow Mix in her dish.
Yesterday, the U.S. House passed H.R. 5053, the Newspeakingly named “Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act.” The bill would prohibit the IRS from requiring 501(c) organizations to report the names and addresses of anyone who gives them more than $5,000. 501(c) groups can launder donor money into “dark money” so no one knows who’s really bankrolling “dark money” various candidates.
Rep. Noem didn’t just vote for this money shell game for her rich friends; she’s co-sponsoring it. Noem and her party leaders pretend to be responding to evidence that some IRS employees singled out conservative non-profits for scrutiny (allegations that led to no criminal charges). Noem and friends seem more concerned with protecting the identity of rich donors like Charles Koch, who supports this bill (“fed up with politics as usual“? yeah, sure) from the “enemies list” they confabulatorily ascribe to Barack and Hillary.
The First Amendment does protect anonymous speech. But if you’re going to play in the political realm, especially if you’re contributing the kind of money that can influence lawmakers ($5,000—yeah, I think checks that big can get a Congressperson’s attention), you should put your name to your support. The White House agrees, noting that H.R. 5053 “would constrain the IRS in enforcing tax laws and reduce the transparency of private foundations.”
We can’t count on South Dakota’s Senators to knock down this sop to their wealthy masters. We’ll have to count on the President to use his veto pen… or perhaps on Democrats to expand their current filibuster to block H.R. 5053 and everything else until the Senate acknowledges that letting rich people hide their political donations is less important than protecting regular Americans from more mass shootings.