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Tipsheet

Congressional Black Caucus Soaking Up "Political" Donations

The Congressional Black Caucus is in an unusual spot. As a political group, they're able to solicit donations based on their political status, to the tune of $55 million from 2004-2008. But only
$1 million of that was used by their political action committee — the normal body that political groups use to get cash to candidates. The rest went into their "unregulated nonprofit network." The New York Times:

The caucus says its nonprofit groups are intended to help disadvantaged African-Americans by providing scholarships and internships to students, researching policy and holding seminars on topics like healthy living.

But the bulk of the money has been spent on elaborate conventions that have become a high point of the Washington social season, as well as the headquarters building, golf outings by members of Congress and an annual visit to a Mississippi casino resort.

Campaign finance laws simply don't govern contributions outside what's formally considered "politics." But if an entity is advertising itself as a political group, it should — at the very least — be expected to follow the rules.

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