Back When 527s Where Cool

From Holden:

Paul Glastris, subbing for Political Animal Kevin Drum, reminds us again that George Bush used to love those 527 organizations.

For example, The Bush-Cheney 2000, Inc-Recount Fund was a 527 created to disenfranchise Florida voters in November 2000. They raised more than $11 million to do so ($18,000 of which came from Enron-related individuals, with bestest Bush friend Kennyboy ponying up $5,000 himself).

One small problem for that particular 527: they failed to file required financial disclosure forms with the IRS until they barely slid in under the wire on the final day of an 18-month amnesty period to avoid nearly $7 million in fines.

The recount fund created by the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign evaded a soft money campaign finance disclosure law for 18 months and did not file required forms until the last day of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “amnesty” program for out-of-compliance groups, Public Citizen has discovered.

The Bush-Cheney 2000, Inc-Recount Fund, a 527 political group created shortly after the November 2000 election to pay for the legal and political activities in Florida and other contested areas, apparently did not file at least four – and perhaps as many as six – required disclosure forms until 3:25 p.m. on July 15, 2002 – meeting the deadline to avoid millions of dollars in potential fines by less than nine hours.

“On its contribution form, the Bush-Cheney recount fund promised full disclosure, but trustees have evaded the soft money law for 18 months and just narrowly escaped nearly $7 million in fines,” said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. “The 527 disclosure law was designed to shed light on this type of ‘stealth PAC’ but the recount fund trustees flouted that law and didn’t begin to comply until the last possible moment.”