March 13, 2012

Under Pressure From Secretly Funded Slush Fund, Senator Hatch Lashes Out At Efforts To Bring Accountability To Secret Campaign Groups

Poor Senator Orrin Hatch. FreedomWorks, a group run by Dick Armey, a congressman who left office to become a corporate lobbyist, is running a series of ads to defeat Hatch in the Utah Republican primary. As iWatch News reports, FreedomWorks has used an accounting trick to move 100% secret money from its 501(c)(4) to its super PAC, thus allowing it to hide the donors behind its political attacks on politicians like Hatch.

Hatch, bowing to pressure, is now lashing out at efforts by Democrats to reign in such campaign finance abuses:

Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, joined the fight over the tax status of “Super PACS” on Friday, accusing Senate Democrats of a “politically motivated witch hunt” for their efforts to rein in tax-exempt political groups.

Mr. Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, was responding to a letter by seven Senate Democrats demanding that the Internal Revenue Service establish a clearer test limiting the politicking of 501(c)(4) groups like American Crossroads, a Republican group, and Priorities USA, a Democratic outfit. The letter, which still has not been sent, also requests stronger rules preventing corporate donors from deducting Super PAC contributions from their taxes, and it threatens legislative action if the I.R.S. fails to act.

Despite Hatch’s rhetoric, the Senate Democrats’ request to the IRS is to examine super PACs related to both parties. It appears that Hatch’s ploy against transparency reform is simply a last-minute bid for support from powerful Republican groups like American Crossroads.

So under pressure from Armey’s secret attack group, Hatch is now cozying up to Karl Rove’s fleet of anonymously-funded fronts. It’s a downward spiral, one in which the public loses, politicians lose, Hatch might even lose, but the lobbyists and super PACs win.