This election cycle is going to get very expensive, isn’t it?
Conservative Solutions Project, a fundraising group setup by supporters of Sen. Marco Rubio, said it raised $15.8 million since its creation in January of last year. That is quite a bit of cash considering it’s coming from a single source that legally should have zero ties to Sen. Rubio’s campaign. Yet there are other caveats here that pose some very interesting questions regarding the 2016 elections.
- For one, Conservative Solutions Project is technically not classified as a super PAC, but a 501c4 (aka a non-profit entity). These types of groups are tax exempt, yet have a catch. To keep its tax exempt status, Conservative Solutions Project has to make sure not to spend the majority of their finances on political activity and show that its purposes are bigger than just supporting Sen. Rubio’s candidacy. So let’s see how it blatantly disregards that through an IRS loophole!
- Non-profits, that are candidate focused, have to walk a rather thin line regarding to what is legal and what is not. Take this ad from Rubio’s Conservative Solutions Project.
- Under current regulations these non-profits can run what are known as issue advocacy ads. These types of ads only bring “problems” into light, but can’t call for a defeat of a candidate or to elect an individual. So the ad above is an issue advocacy ad. While it shows Sen. Rubio proclaiming why the current Iran nuclear deal is not in America’s best interest, it never asks the viewer to vote for Sen. Rubio in the 2016 elections. Because of that, ads like the one above wouldn’t be counted as political expenditures, so Conservative Solutions Project can create as many of them as they wish. It’s basically the political fundraising equivalent of God’s Loophole. While sure, Conservative Solutions Project may be following non-profit protocol, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fucking campaign finance laws directly in the ass!
- What makes all of this so much worse is that donors can be anonymous with a non-profit group. Unlike a super PACs, where they can raise unlimited funds but have to disclose donors, non-profits don’t. So yeah, there’s also that…
- If the $15.8 million figure is true – and there is no reason why it wouldn’t be – it would be the biggest amount a single group of this kind has raised thus far. The idea of a non-profit, candidate centric, fundraising group is still new to the political scene. The only other 2016 candidate that has decided to use non-profit groups in a similar fashion has been Jeb Bush with Right to Rise Policy Solutions. From early reports, the strategy is working quite well. Don’t be surprised if you see more non-profit groups popping up in future presidential contests.
Ah fuck it, just queue the music…
(Photo Credit: MarcoRubio.com)