Dark Money

Source: OpenSecrets.org, 2016

Dark Money Groups spend millions influencing our elections without reporting where the money came from. Learn more about their growing influence below. ….

From the blog post:
…. OpenSecrets.org is excited to announce a major new expansion of DarkMoney.org to better help journalists, watchdogs and the public track the IRS forms of thousands of groups and see how what appears on those filings meshes with what actually happened in the 2016 election cycle. This new, vastly larger set of tools adds to the suite of functions and information already available on the site.

Beginning today, OpenSecrets is providing downloadable financial information for over 20,000 nonprofit organizations — up from less than 500 — in the largest, cleanest and most detailed free resource for people researching the activities and networks of non-charity nonprofits and dark money organizations. Getting the data previously had been a difficult, very 20th-century process: We had to manually collect the 990 reports directly from the groups themselves, or get them in costly, convoluted batches from the IRS. Now, thanks to a generous grant from the Knight Foundation and additional funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, we have integrated digitized data on organizations, provided by Guidestar, with the rest of OpenSecrets’ data resources.

For the first time, visitors to OpenSecrets can see all grants made by 501(c)4, 501(c)5 and 501(c)6 organizations. If a grant was made to another politically active nonprofit – transfers between groups are common – visitors can easily see that group’s financial information, too, as well as whether it spends money on political activity.

This information goes far beyond other data sets made public to this point. The IRS’s own e-file data, released over the summer, is messier and less comprehensive. The new OpenSecrets.org data set uniquely does not depend on a group having electronically filed its tax returns with the IRS or having received approval as tax-exempt from the agency; all filings are there, with digitized, standardized data. Where applicable, the data has been matched with Federal Election Commission filings showing political activity, going back years further than the IRS e-file data. ….