As a library advocacy organization, EveryLibrary knows that libraries are trusted by their communities for two big reasons: they provide access to information for everyone, and they keep patron library cards and borrowing records confidential. As a political action committee for libraries, we want to emulate that trust in how we conduct our fundraising activities and disclose about our donors. EveryLibrary is one of the few 501c4 organizations in the country to voluntarily set-up a GuideStar donor profile. Since the beginning, we have asked our donors to self-disclose their support. This approach to “money in politics” is voluntary. EveryLibrary is not currently subject to any donor disclosure requirements in Illinois when we directly support a local election or talk about public policy.
That could be changing now with the introduction of SB 2089 in the state Senate. Illinois Sen. Don Harmon (D), Senate President Pro Tempore, and Sen. Sam McCann (R), with support from the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, have sponsored SB 2089 to include all 501(c)4 organizations like EveryLibrary, along with 501(c)5 and 501(c)c6 organizations like trade groups and unions, in the same campaign disclosure requirements as every other political committee in the state. EveryLibrary endorses SB 2089 and welcomes the opportunity to change our home state’s laws to make political money more transparent. We believe that voters across the country should know who is spending money to try and influence policy and tip elections. At least SB 2089 puts Illinois – where we are registered and headquartered – on the path to greater transparency in politics.
Please take a moment to add your voice to this growing and important movement to shine a new light on dark money in politics. If you live in Illinois, please send an email to your state senator and representatives in support of SB 2089. If you are outside of Illinois, add your name to our growing list of Americans concerned about how dark money from groups like the Koch Brothers and other anti-tax mega PACs can hurt libraries.
Thanks for standing up in this political climate and speaking out to support a better kind of politics in America and here in our home state.