What are 527's? | Who Donates? | Where does the money go?
Government Regulation | Ethics
Late in the 2004 presidential election
George Bush discussed his views on 527's, which Democratic groups
used to greater advantage. His comments can be described as critical
and he believes that they are shady organizations that will air commercials on
something they don't know about. However, in 2000 Bush's Texas cronies
set up a 527 to slander and help defeat John McCain and "Bush thought
they were just dandy."
527's were created to allow groups to mobilize support
for an issue without the constraints of the Federal Election Commission
or taxes. The purpose was to give citizens the ability to gather power
and spread the word on an issue freely. For the most part the 527's that
exist do fit this ideal; long term organizations spreading their messages.
However, particularly in the last election, several 527's conducted highly
The most infamous 527 is Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose sole intention
seemed to be to slander John Kerry.
While these 527's generally have modest and fairly good intentions it is the ones
who can sway an election that get the most funding from wealthy
contributors. These contributors use these 527's to see if they can
affect an election without breaking any FEC rules and for the most part
remaining anonymous. A section that was supposed to give the little guy
more rights in spreading values has instead become an avenue for wealthy contributors
to flood the airwaves with partisan commercials.
The Internet has provided a great mobilization tool for those who want
to band together around a common idea and 527 organization consolidate
this movement quite well. If someone visits a 527 website and doesn't
agree with their values then they can simply leave, and is the beauty
of the internet. The ethical danger is how the money donated can lead
to advertisements that slander an opponent and this becomes excess
unless there is more regulation by the FEC.