Gov. signs bill requiring political nonprofits to disclose spending

  • The bill requires nonprofits engaged in politics to disclose certain spending within 60 days of an election.
  • Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill on Friday.
  • The bill had the backing of GOP leadership but some conservative groups opposed it.

Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill on Friday requiring political nonprofits to disclose their spending ahead of an election.

“It requires more detailed reporting by PACs and candidates, and it also requires more disclosures of conflicts of interest by government officials,” said Deborah Fisher, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government.

SB 1005 requires that when nonprofits use a candidate’s name or image, they must disclose expenditures of more than $5,000 that take place within 60 days of an election. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, and House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, sponsored the bill.

Gov. Bill Lee delivers his State of the State address on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 in Nashville, Tenn.

“That specific provision was a significant improvement,” said Dick Williams, state chair of Common Cause Tennessee. “I was very supportive of that overall bill.”

Related:Ethics reform bill passes Senate despite barrage of complaints from dark-money groups

But some nonprofits that don’t disclose funding or spending, such as Americans for Prosperity and Tennessee Stands, opposed the bill.

Tennessee Stands Executive Director Gary Humble said on his website the passage of the bill lacked transparency, and that it would hinder nonprofits’ free speech.

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