December 16, 2015

Omnibus Spending Bill Contains Political Law Items Related to 501(c)(4)s, Government Contractors and Publicly Traded Companies

Holland & Knight Eyes on Washington Blog
Christopher DeLacy

The FY 16 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which will fund the federal government for the balance of the current fiscal year, contains the following provisions:

  • 501(c)(4) Political Activities - Section 127 of Division E, Financial Services (p. 472),  prohibits the use of federally appropriated funds for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to implement any regulation, revenue ruling, or other guidance not limited to a particular tax payer relating to the standard used to determine whether a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization has engaged in too much political activity, including regulations proposed in 2013.  The IRS is still permitted to continue to make this determination on a case-by-case basis, as they did last year
  • Federal Contractor Political Disclosure - Section 735 of Division E, General Government (p. 589), prohibits the use of federally appropriated funds to require federal contractors to disclose campaign contributions as a condition of bidding on a federal contract. 
  • SEC Political Disclosure - Section 707 of Division O, Other Matters (p. 1982), prohibits the use of federally appropriated funds for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require the disclosure of political contributions, contributions to tax exempt organizations, or dues paid to trade associations. 

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