Senate hearings, lawsuits and an Internal Revenue Service questionnaire are placing new scrutiny on nonprofit groups that spend millions of dollars on political campaigns without disclosing their donors.
The 2012 election is almost certain to be the most expensive in history -- and that’s not a bad thing. Communicating with a nation of 310 million -- via town halls and television ads -- is costly. As long as campaign contributions and expenditures are well-documented, voters benefit from the increase in information and attention that money buys. But as a Bloomberg News investigation last month revealed, anonymous donors spent at least $137 million in 2010 to influence the composition of Congress. They are sure to spend more in the 2012 campaign, subverting electoral accountability with every undisclosed dollar.
Comedian Stephen Colbert, emboldened by a recent poll that showed him ahead of Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr., announced yesterday on his late-night television show that he will explore running for “president of the United States of South Carolina.”