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States Sue Trump Administration Over Decision to Allow Donor Secrecy

New York and New Jersey are suing the Trump administration to find out what's behind its decision to stop requiring some tax-exempt groups to reveal their donors.

The federal lawsuit filed Monday seeks to force the IRS and Treasury Department to turn over documents related to the decision to change the rules. Last summer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the government would no longer require politically active nonprofits — including so-called "dark money" groups — to provide the agency with a confidential list of names and addresses of its largest donors every year.

"Good government" groups have criticized Mnuchin's decision in part because dark money nonprofits spend extraordinary sums to influence elections – $147 million during the 2018 campaign – and requiring donor disclosures to the IRS could help ensure illegal foreign contributions are not funneled into their coffers.

In October, Attorneys General Letitia James of New York and Gurbir Grewal of New Jersey, both Democrats, filed Freedom of Information Act requests seeking documents about what led to the decision. Their lawsuit argues the government has all but ignored those requests.

"Not only was this policy change made without notice, the Treasury and the IRS are now refusing to comply with the law to release information about the rationale for these changes," James said. "No one is above the law — not even the federal government — and we will use every tool to ensure they comply with these regulations to provide transparency and accountability."

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