Can companies deduct political contributions in the wake of Citizens United?

Citizens United was the landmark legal case that opened up unlimited contributions, with no requirement to disclose donors for large entities, to pools of money known colloquially as Super Pacs. A new article brings up an interesting possibility: could wealthy individuals and corporations score a lucrative two-fer?

(Propublica) — Tax experts say it’s possible that businesses are using an aggressive interpretation of the law to wring a tax advantage out of their donations to these groups. It’s almost impossible to know whether that’s happening, partly because the groups — also known by their IRS designation as 501(c)(4)s — aren’t required to disclose their donors. (That’s why the contributions have been dubbed “dark money.”)

If so, for the first time in a long time, these wealthy groups could not only skirt campaign finance laws, they could get a fat write-off for it.

That’s depressing. But on a clutching-for-straws positive note, a Super Pac could conceivably work for religious skeptics, too. It’s no secret that people, politicians, businesses, and media run away screaming from non believers. But if skeptically inclined groups or individuals could contribute to a Super Pac that went on to promote free thought, and they wouldn’t have to worry about being “outed.”

It’s not much. But it’s something.

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