The donors behind New Jersey's most politically influential groups will remain a mystery indefinitely after a federal judge hit the pause button on a law that would have outed such "dark money" actors.
Set to go into effect later this month, the law would have required social welfare nonprofits and other nonprofit political organizations to disclose donors that gave more than $10,000 as well as spending related to elections and other political activity that exceeded $3,000. Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, signed the measure into law in June, despite previously vetoing the bill and calling it unconstitutional.
Soon after the governor signed the bill, though, Americans for Prosperity — a libertarian group funded by the Koch family, who would be affected by these new disclosure requirements — sued the state, arguing the law violated the First Amendment and targeted certain groups over others.
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.