Facing South identifies the source of another bit of Republican dirty trickery that spread this year through GOP-controlled legislatures like kudzu (but with more damaging effect.)
It’s legislation that prevents, particularly, states from requiring disclosure of donors to 501c4 organizations that enjoy nonprofit tax status but have come to be increasingly influential contributors to political campaigns. The money is dark, very dark. And they like it that way.
Arkansas is featured at the top of a list of Facing South’s related items:
Date on which Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed into law a bill barring state agencies and officials from implementing disclosure requirements on nonprofits that are “more stringent, restrictive, or expansive” than those already in force, and that prohibits state and local agencies from requiring, requesting, or disclosing information about a nonprofit’s donors: 4/30/2021
Number of states that this year considered such measures, which democracy advocates point out apply not only to nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofits but also to those that engage in partisan political activity — 501(c)(4) “social welfare” groups like the National Rifle Association, 501(c)(5) labor organizations like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and 501(c)(6) groups like chambers of commerce: at least 10
The timeline goes on to note that the American Legislative Exchange Council began pushing this idea in 2016 and produced a “toolkit” for states to adopt it. ALEC is the go-to bill-writing machine for conservative legislators and is increasingly influential in Arkansas politics as a result.
The Koch family billions have sustained ALEC over the years and it has pushed their politics into state laws.
Fun fact: the Arkansas legislation was first floated in the House, by Rep. David Ray, a former employee of the Koch political organization’s Arkansas affiliate of Americans for Prosperity. His House bill ran into trouble in committee, but a Senate version by Sen. Breanne Davis, which Ray co-sponsored, zipped into the statute books.