Preventing Wealthy Special Interests from Using Shell Companies to Keep Their Political Spending Secret


At a Glance

To keep their electoral spending secret, wealthy special interests often funnel contributions through vaguely named LLCs or corporate entities — a violation of federal law that fundamentally undermines transparency. Campaign Legal Center (CLC) takes action to support robust enforcement of laws banning these “straw donor” contributions and advocates for reform.

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The Latest

Voters have a right to know who is spending money to influence their vote and our government. Transparency is necessary to understand who is supporting which candidates and why, so that voters can make informed choices at the ballot box. That’s why federal law requires candidates and committees to disclose their contributors.  

One way that wealthy...

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About this Action

When special interests want to keep their political spending secret, they often employ “straw donors” — an LLC, trust or other corporate entity that is used to funnel the contribution to a super PAC so that the true contributor’s name doesn’t appear on public campaign finance reports. In some cases, these “straw donors” are even used to conceal corruption or foreign influence in American elections.

This practice violates federal campaign finance laws and harms democracy. The integrity of the electoral process depends on transparent public disclosure of who is spending money on elections. Voters have a right to know who is trying to influence their vote, and straw donor schemes undermine an open and inclusive democracy.

CLC investigates potential straw donations and files complaints requesting that federal authorities, including the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice, enforce the law and impose harsh penalties to deter future straw donor schemes. CLC also supports legal reforms to close loopholes that create opportunities for straw donor schemes and improve electoral transparency. 

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