Being a political year, you have probably seen and heard a lot of political ads – some of them not from the candidates – but from entities known as 501c4s. These are issue organizations that get their name from the tax code designation. Unlike campaigns for political candidates, these issue campaigns do not – for the most part – have to divulge their contributors.
Ed Martin, Governor Matt Blunt’s former chief of staff, heads a conservative 501c4 known as the American Issues Project . Martin says there is a good deal of anonymity in that the 501c4s protect the names of contributors – something which angers a lot of Americans.
But Martin defends the 501c4s, saying it was lawmakers who set up the rules, and these entities at both ends of the political spectrum are respecting those rules that Congress created. The 501c4s have come under fire because they often use issues to go after political candidates by name … without mentioning a candidate’s opponent by name.