Notes: Section 527 committees (also called groups and organizations) are named for the section of the IRS Code that authorizes the establishment of nonprofit committees. Section 527 was created in 1975 to establish tax rules for political organizations, such as the national political parties and political action committees. The parties and PACs register with the Federal Election Commission which requires them to disclose their donors and spending. However, the new Section 527 committees claim they are political organizations to the IRS, but say they are engaged in issues, not politics where the FEC is concerned so they don't have to register. This allows them to be secretive and raise unlimited amounts of money without reporting spending or naming donors. However, the committees are forbidden from coordinating their efforts with the campaigns they aim to help. Also, they must avoid certain words in their materials and ads such as "vote for" and "vote against." Thus, they run so-called issue ads that often criticize a candidate without directly saying to vote for his opponent. In a surprising move yesterday, the Senate, led by John McCain, passed a measure to require 527 committees to disclose their spending and contributors. Several Republicans joined with Democrats to pass the measure. The question is what the House will now do with the legislation. House Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas, a Republican has been linked to such committees as has Republican J.C. Watts of Oklahoma. All along many Republicans have advocated disclosure rules instead of fund-raising restrictions that many Democrats have called for. 06.09.00

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