-By Bernie Becker
February 19, 2013- A former Democratic congressional candidate and a government watchdog are suing the IRS, claiming the agency has allowed political groups to flout campaign finance laws.
In their lawsuit, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and David Gill, who lost a razor-thin election in 2012, say that the failure of the IRS to keep so-called 501(c)(4) groups out of politics has allowed a flood of anonymous money into the political process.
“Disgracefully, the IRS has sat on its hands for the last two election cycles while 501(c)(4) groups have been formed expressly to run negative attack ads funded by anonymous donors,” Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said in a statement.
“When called out, the IRS has said only that it is ‘aware’ of the public’s concern. Now the IRS can explain its deplorable inaction in federal court.”
The suit comes after the American Action Network, which is organized as a 501(c)(4), spent roughly $1.5 million against Gill in the 2012 election — with around two-thirds of that, Gill and CREW say, coming in negative spots in the campaign’s final weeks.
Those advertisements asserted that Gill was a “mad scientist” looking to destroy Medicare.
"I ran for office because I believe in the democratic process and public service,” Gill said in a Tuesday statement.