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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RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.
Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?
To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."
The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.
The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.
Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.
While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."