Nov 20, 2019

"Dark money" group shelled out $141 million to liberal causes in 2018

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A political nonprofit spent a record-breaking $141 million, boosting liberal-leaning causes in the 2018 midterm election, new tax filings show, per Politico.

Why it matters: The influence of the group, Sixteen Thirty Fund, is "a sign that Democrats and allies have embraced the methods of groups they decried as 'dark money' earlier this decade, when they were under attack from the money machines built by conservatives including the Kochs," Politico notes.

  • The organization's 2018 fundraising numbers exceeded "any amount ever raised by a left-leaning political nonprofit."
  • Issues the group sponsored included opposition efforts against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to ballot issues such as minimum wage and voter rights.

By the numbers: The group was bankrolled by large donations. One $51.7 million gift was larger than Sixteen Thirty Fund received in any year before Donald Trump was elected president.

  • Nonprofits that concentrate on "social welfare" don't have to disclose who funds them, according to Politico, so the group's funders can and do remain secret.

Zoom out: The Supreme Court ruled in mid-September 2018 that political campaigns by nonprofit groups must disclose the identities of their donors for the remaining month of the 2018 midterm election cycle.

Read the tax filing:

Go deeper: Pro-Trump group finds swing voters are unconvinced on impeachment

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California strikes down law requiring presidential tax returns to appear on ballot

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The California Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled against a law requiring presidential and gubernatorial candidates to disclose their past five years of tax returns for a spot on the state's primary ballot, per the Sacramento Bee.

Why it matters: California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill in July in an effort to compel Trump to release his tax returns. While campaigning in 2016, Trump argued he could not release the records because he was under audit. The chairwoman of the California Republican Party sued over the law, sending the matter to the state's high court.

Go deeperArrowNov 21, 2019

Supreme Court grants emergency stay blocking subpoena for Trump tax returns

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The Supreme Court on Monday granted an emergency stay blocking Congress from enforcing a subpoena for President Trump's financial records, which a lower court had upheld in October.

Why it matters: The court didn't explain its reasoning, but the decision makes it likely that it will take up the case. For now, Trump's longtime accounting firm Mazars USA will not be forced to turn over Trump's tax returns to House Democrats investigating the president.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 25, 2019

Pro-Trump group finds swing voters are unconvinced on impeachment

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The pro-Trump group America First says focus groups show that suburban swing voters — even some who strongly dislike President Trump — remain skeptical about impeachment.

Why it matters: These early findings will help shape Republican messaging about impeachment and Trump's top Democratic rivals.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019