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.
Sean Noble, a former congressional aide, had an account ready when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations could join wealthy donors and spend freely in federal elections. In less than a year, he had $62 million at his disposal.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has been had. "A campaign finance system that pairs corporate independent expenditures with effective disclosure has not existed before today," he confidently wrote in his majority opinion in Citizens United, the Court’s 2010 decision that freed corporations, unions and others to spend unlimited sums on electioneering.