Chairman Xavier Becerra Votes Against H.R. 3865

February 27, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Xavier Becerra, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, delivered the following remarks on the floor of the House before voting against legislation (H.R. 3865) that would delay the IRS from developing new regulations concerning 501(c)(4) organizations:

“I think the best way to describe this bill is to call it the ‘Prevent Secret Money from Disclosure Act’ because that’s what we’re really talking about.

“What matters today to most Americans? If you talk to folks back home or on the street, they’ll tell you, are you working on making sure the private sector is creating jobs? Does this bill help create jobs? No. They’ll say, at least make sure if I’m paying taxes you’re using it the right way. Does this bill help taxpayers save money? No.

“So why are we doing this? You’re hearing folks talk about the constitution. The constitution doesn’t guarantee campaign donors get special tax treatment or protections. The first amendment protects speech, not secret contributions. So what’s the problem?

“The problem is the IRS has finally figured out that a whole bunch of folks are funneling a lot of dark, secret money into organizations that under the tax code are permitted and they’re using this to influence our American campaigns. We have no idea who is making these contributions of millions of dollars, secret dollars, to influence campaigns here in America.

“Is it foreign governments giving these millions of dollars? We don’t know.

“Is it money launderers trying to influence elections? We don’t know.

“We have no idea who is giving this money because under the tax code that these organizations are filing, they have no obligation to disclose who has given them one red cent.

“That tax code section 501(c)(4), very similar to the 501(c)(3), the charitable organizations we’re very familiar with. 501(c)(4) is classified as social welfare organizations. Guess what? You know how much money those social welfare organizations spent doing campaign and political work in our elections? Well, how much do you think the political campaigns spent, the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee combined? $255 billion in the 2012 election. That’s what the two parties spent together. How much did social welfare organizations spend on campaign and political activity? More than the two political parties combined. $256 billion. Can you tell me where one penny came from? No, you can’t. Because it’s all secret money. It’s all secret money.

“What are proponents of the bill trying to do? They’re trying to hide the names of those who gave the money. Why? We don’t know.

“But it sure would be nice to know who is giving all this money. When just eight years those same social welfare organizations gave a total of $1 million for political purposes. $256 billion in 2012. Eight years ago, $1 million. Something’s going on in America, someone is trying to buy elections and we can’t figure it out because those donors don’t have to be disclosed. It’s time to make sure that those donations are disclosed. That’s all the IRS is trying to do. It’s cloaked as something different by proponents of this bill. Let’s not hide the money.

“It’s time to disclose those contributors. Vote down this bill.”