GOP-led Michigan Legislature OKs bill to keep secret donors to political nonprofits

Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

LANSING, Mich. – Legislation nearing the desk of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder would make it a crime for government agencies to require the disclosure of nonprofits’ donors.

Critics decry the move as shielding political “dark money” while supporters defend it as protecting people’s right to freedom of association.

The Republican-led House approved the bill Tuesday, meaning it will go to Snyder after a final procedural step in the Senate in the final days of a frantic lame-duck session.

The legislation is seen by some as a pre-emptive strike against the incoming Democratic secretary of state and attorney general, who will succeed term-limited Republicans.

Politically active nonprofits that spend big on elections and ballot initiatives already do not have to disclose the sources of their funding to the IRS. The legislation would prohibit governments in Michigan from making such information public or even collecting it in the first place — unless there is a warrant or a request as part of litigation.