During an August 31 appearance on CNN, anchor Wolf Blitzer sat silently by as Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) falsely claimed that 527 groups do not disclose their donors. Blitzer asked Brownback about TV ads by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a 527 group. In an apparent effort to shift the discussion away from the false and misleading content of the group's ads, Brownback claimed that 527s fail to disclose their donors.
"You're seeing these 527s all over the place," Brownback said. "The money is -- we don't know where it's coming from, we don't know how much there is in it, but it's out there."
In fact, we do know where the money behind 527 ads is coming from, and we do know how much it is, because 527s are required to disclose their donors. Brownback should know that, too: he voted for the legislation that created the 527 donor disclosure requirement in 2000.
And Blitzer should also know that 527s are required to disclose their donors; during the legislative fight over the 527 disclosure legislation, he reported on June 11, 2000, about "Republican senator John McCain ... pushing for a campaign finance reform measure that would require political organizations to disclose their donors."
If Blitzer and Brownback (or anyone else) are curious about 527 donations, they can consult this easy-to-use database hosted by the Center for Public Integrity.