Bright Lines Project in the News


Trump Vows to Overturn Ban on Political Activity by Churches Gregory Korte, USA Today, Feb. 2, 2017: “'This is a way to convert religious organizations, charities and educational groups into dark money organizations,' said Robert Weissman, president of the left-leaning group Public Citizen. Allowing groups that are exempt from paying taxes to engage in political activity would force the government to subsidize secret money in politics, he said.”

Trump’s Call to Repeal Tax Rule Could Allow Hospitals to Support Candidates. But Would They? Adam Rubenfire, Modern Healthcare Magazine, Feb. 3, 2017: “'From our perspective, 501 (c) (3) (organizations) have spent decades building up the wonderful philanthropy they do and the missions they fulfill, and this is really the last place in our society that is nonpartisan anymore,' said Emily Peterson-Cassin, the project's coordinator. 'Now you're going to introduce the corrosive influence of politics into that and everything that comes with it? It doesn't serve the mission of a 501 (c) (3) to be involved in this.'"


Lisa Gilbert and Emily Peterson-Cassin, IRS Commish Impeachment is Only About Making Headlines, The Hill, (September 15, 2016),

Brendan Fischer, IRS Gives Up, Grants Karl Rove's Dark Money Group "Social Welfare" Certification, PRWatch, (February 10, 2016),

Paul C. Barton, Confusion Over Judging Political Activity Still Reigns at IRS, Tax Analysts, (February 8, 2016),


Michael Beckel, Tea Party Groups See Win in End-of-Year Omnibus Bill, Center for Public Integrity, (December 21, 2015),

Michael Beckel, Secret donors fuel Democratic political powerhouse, Center for Public Integrity, (November 18, 2015),

Larry Ottinger, Limit Undisclosed Partisan Spending, Washington Post, (November 6, 2015),

Bright Lines Project, Comments to IRS Offer Spectrum of Substantiveness as New Nonprofit Political Activity Rules are Anticipated, Citizen Vox, (November 5, 2015),

Greg Colvin, IRS Commissioner Hints at Timing for New Political Regulations, Summarizes Thousands of Public Comments, Nonprofit Law Matters, (October 29, 2015),

Henry Geller, Dark Money is the IRS's Real Problem, Washington Post, (October 11, 2015),

Bright Lines Project, Who You Gonna Call? (To Testify at Your Congressional Hearing), Citizen Vox, (September 8, 2015),

Lisa Gilbert, Secret Money Will Continue to Influence Elections Without Clearer IRS Rules, Roll Call, (August 12, 2015),

Lisa Gilbert, When Nonprofits Funnel Campaign Money, NY Times, (July 31, 2015),

Sylvan Lane, Ted Cruz Presses Commissioner on IRS Targeting, Dallas Morning News, (July 29, 2015),

Colin Diersing, Watchdogs say more oversight of IRS needed as it investigates nonprofits, LA Times, (July 23, 2015),

Paul C. Barton, Abolish the Tax Code? What Happens to 501(c)s?, Tax Notes (July 6, 2015),

Bright Lines Project, Amid Crises and Distractions, IRS Rulemaking Moves Steadily Onward, Citizen Vox, (June 15, 2015),

Bright Lines Project, On Clarifying IRS Rules for Nonprofits, Sen, Hatch Takes Bold Stand on Both Sides of Issue, Citizen Vox, (June 15, 2015),

Lisa Gilbert, Encouraging Signs on New Rules for Nonprofit Political Activity, The Hill, (June 1, 2015),

Nicholas Confessore, IRS Seeks to Define Political Activity for Nonprofits, New York Times, (May 22, 2015),

Matea Gold, Big Money in Politics Emerges as a Rising Issue in 2016 Campaign, Washington Post, (April 19, 2015),

Hillary Flynn and Rachel Bade, IRS May Broaden Rule to Police Political Nonprofits, Politico, (March 18, 2015),

Creative Solutions to Reduce the Influence of Money in Politics, Democracy Fund

Michael Wyland, IRS Chief Filibusters Political Regulations For nonprofits, Nonprofit Quarterly, (February 5, 2015).

Emily Peterson-Cassin, Is the IRS Ready for Some Football?, Roll Call, (February 2, 2015).

Staff, Unlikely Allies Agree: Clearer IRS Rules Needed, Truth Out, (February 2, 2015).

Adelle M. Banks, Religious and Secular Advocates Urge IRS to Clarify Rules on Political Endorsements from the Pulpit, Religion News Service, (January 29, 2015).

Shane Goldmacher, Buying a Nominee, National Journal, (January 29, 2015).

Robert Maguire, In the Garden of Dark Money, the Thorny Case of Rosebush Corp,, (January 22, 2015).

Julie Patel, IRS Rarely Audits Nonprofits for Politicking, The Center for Public Integrity, (January 22, 2015).

Theodoric Meyer, New IRS Rules On Dark Money Likely Won’t be Ready Before 2016 Election,, (January 5, 2015).


Money and Politics: The Most Undercovered Stories of 2014, Moyers and Company, (December 31, 2014),

Larry Kaplan, Charity Regulation by the IRS Wanes Placing Nonprofits at Risk, Non-Profit Quarterly, (December 18, 2014),

Reity O'Brien, Secretive Nonprofits Flourished –and Succeeded-in 2014 State Elections, Center for Public Integrity, (December 17, 2014),

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, 14 Things We Learned About money In Politics in 2014, Brennan Center for Justice, (December 16, 2014),

Rachel Bade, Charities Risked Tax-Exempt Status With Political Ads, Center for Public Integrity, (December 15, 2014),

Bill Schambra and Lisa Gilbert, Schambra & Gilbert: Rules Need Clear Cut Revisions, Battle Creek Enquirer, (December 6, 2014),

Eliza Newlin Carney, Fresh Round of Controversies for IRS, CQ Roll Call, (December 2, 2014),

Kathleen Sharp, America’s Dark Money disaster: Why We Need Donor ID Laws Now, Salon, (November 23, 2014),

Michael Beckel, Obama Can Turn Out the Lights on Dark Money, Public Integrity, (November 20, 2014),

Editors, Obama Can Turn Out the Lights on Dark Money, Bloomberg View, (November 19, 2014),

Joseph Tanfani, Kentucky ‘Dark Money’ Group Grew Rapidly in 2014 Election Cycle, LA Times, (November 19, 2014),

Robert Maguire, Latest Candidate Must-Have: Your Very Own Dark Money Group, Center for Responsive Politics, (November 10, 2014),

Editorial Board, Politics' Dark Age, Philly, (November 6, 2014),

Lisa Gilbert, After Midterms, Driving Toward Solutions to Our Dark Money Problem, The Hill, (November 4, 2014),

Michael Hiltzik, How the IRS ‘Scandal’ Put America Democracy Up for Sale: A Case Study, LA Times, (November 3, 2014),

PR Watch Admin, CMD Files IRS Complaint Against Wisconsin Club for Growth, PR Watch, (October 24, 2014),

Emily Peterson-Cassin, On Dark Money, a Glimmer of Hope from the IRS, Citizen Vox, (October 23, 2014),

Joseph Tanfani, Unprecedented Amount of ‘Dark Money’ Fuels Midterm Races, LA Times, (October 18, 2014),

Jeffrey Dorfman, Campaign Spending Freedom Is Great For Speech and The Advertising-Media Sector, Forbes, (October 16, 2014),

Paul Blumenthal, How Will Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS Stay Within The Law in 2014?, Huffington Post, (October 8, 2014),

Chronicle of Philanthropy, Poll: Most Voters Back Tight Rules on Nonprofit Politicking, Chronicle of Philanthropy, (October 1, 2014),

Rachel Bade, Poll: Voters Back Clearer Nonprofit Political Rules, Politico Morning Tax, (September 30, 2014),

Leah McGrath Goodman, As Dark Money Floods US Elections, Regulators Turn a Blind Eye, Newsweek, (September 30, 2014),

Carl Hulse, Support Strong for Regulating Politics and Nonprofits, New York Times, (September 30, 2014),

Howard Gleckman, The Public Wants Clear Rules About Campaign Giving Through Tax-Exempts. Is it Possible?, Forbes, (September 30, 2014),

Bernie Becker, Poll: Voters Support Stronger Nonprofit Rules, The Hill, (September 30, 2014),

Lisa Gilbert, Across the Aisle, Voters are Speaking, the IRS Should Listen, The Hill, (September 25, 2014),

Palmer Gibbs, Transparency Advocates Look at "The Price We Pay for Money's Influence On Politics", Sunlight Foundation, (September 17, 2014),

Emily Peterson-Cassin, Bright Line Rules for Nonprofits Can Bring Dark Money Into the Light, CitizenVox, (July 23, 2014),

Lisa Gilbert, IRS Funding Controversy Overlooks Real Solutions, The Hill, (July 9, 2014),

Josh Hicks, Conservatives Not Swayed by Plan to Revise IRS Proposed Nonprofit Rule, Washington Post, (April 16, 2014),

Lisa Gilbert, Rising above the Partisan Fray, Most Organizations Call for IRS Rulemaking to Continue, Huffington Post, (April 10, 2014),

Larry Ottinger, IRS Should Take the Middle Ground on Nonprofit Politicking, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, (March 18, 2014),

Emily Peterson-Cassin, IRS Should Keep Eye on the Goal, The Hill, (February 27, 2014),

Diana Aviv and Lisa Gilbert, Regulating the "Dark Money" of Politics, New York Times, (February 24, 2014),


Fredreka Schouten and Gregory Korte, Voter Registration Could Be Curtailed Under IRS Rule , Washington Post, (December 24, 2013),

Diana Aviv & Gary Bass, Treasury and IRS rules on nonprofits’ political activity miss the mark , Washington Post, (December 13, 2013),

Bright Lines Project, Our First Reaction to Proposed Regulations from IRS/Treasury on Tax-Exempt Political Campaign Activity (December 6, 2013),

Diana Aviv & Gary Bass, IRS Plan on Nonprofit Political Work Undermines Democracy, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, (December 3, 2013),

Matea Gold, New IRS Rules Add both Clarity and Confusion About the Role of Advocacy Groups in Politics, Washington Post, (November 28, 2013),

Tom Halloran, Tax reform: Bright Line at the End of the Tunnel, The Hill, (November 27, 2013),

Gary Bass & Tom Halloran, Leaders Fight for Clear, Fair Political Activity Rules, NonProfit Times, (November 26, 2013),

Nicholas Confessore New Rules Would Rein In Nonprofits’ Political Role , New York Times, (November 26, 2013),

U.S. Treasury Press Release Treasury, IRS Will Issue Proposed Guidance for Tax-Exempt Social Welfare Organizations , NonProfit Times, (November 26, 2013),

Brian Faler, Tax Reform’s Status: Heard the Latest Rumors?, Politico, (September 25, 2013),

Robert A.G. Monks, For the Public Good? Nonprofits and Political Donations, Huffington Post, (September 25, 2013),

Tom Halloran, Defining Nonprofit Political Activity Through Bright Lines and Safe Harbors, The Hill, (September 20, 2013),

Michael Wyland, Hudson Institute Panel Pessimistic on IRS Nonprofit Regulation, NonProfit Quarterly, (September 19, 2013),

Amelia Thomson-Deveaux, Jesus Voted Against Your Sins, The American Prospect, (August 22, 2013),

Mark Hrywna, Political Free Speech Report Sparks Disagreement, The NonProfit Times (August 16, 2013),

Eliza Newlin Carney, Blame the IRS or Fix it? Rules of the Game, CQ Roll Call (July 23, 2013),

Gregory L. Colvin, Bright Lines Project Submits Legislation to Congress to Fix Tax Law on Political Activity, Nonprofit Law Matters (July 16, 2013),

Gary D. Bass and Gregory L. Colvin, Finding Congressional Solutions to the IRS Scandal, CQ Roll Call, (June 14, 2013),

Lisa Gilbert, It’s Time for the SEC to Regulate Political Spending By Public Companies, Yahoo! Finance News (June 12, 2013),

Alex Gauthier, Bright Lines Project: a Nonpartisan Solution to IRS Targeting, Money Talks, (June 11, 2013),

Gregory L. Colvin, In the Bright Lines Project Proposal, is There a Place for ‘Facts and Circumstances? Response to Bob Bauer and others, More Soft Money Hard Law, (June 3, 2013),

Ellen P. Aprill and Lisa Gilbert, Fixing the IRS: Clarify the Rules on Political Involvement, (June 3, 2013),

Ezra Reese, Can ‘Bright Lines’ Improve IRS Performance on Political Activity? Perkins Coie, LLC, (May 31, 2013),

Bob Bauer, IRS and ‘Bright Lines’ More Soft Money Hard Law, (May 28, 2013)

Ellen P. Aprill, IRS and Scrutiny: Reviewing Review/Commentary, Roll Call, (May, 23 2013),

Gary D. Bass and Elizabeth J. Kingsley, Nonprofits need better guidance on tax-exempt standards, Washington Post, (May 23, 2013),