Reuters: Election blurring of church, state separation draws complaints

-By Mary Wisniewski

November 12, 2012- Political watchdog and secularist groups are asking the U.S. government to investigate whether Catholic bishops and a Christian evangelical group headed by preacher Billy Graham should lose tax breaks for telling followers how to vote in this year's election.

Under constitutional protections of free speech and separation of church and state, churches are free to speak on any issue. But they risk losing tax breaks worth $145 billion in the past decade if they violate Internal Revenue Service rules by promoting or opposing any particular candidate. Other non-profits also have special tax status.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a political watchdog group, in its complaint to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, cited reports of individual bishops "abusing their positions to advocate against the election of President Barack Obama."

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Washington Post: For U.S. Chamber of Commerce, election was a money-loser

-By Jia Lynn Yang and Tom Hamburger

November 7, 2012- The day after an election in which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent millions of dollars backing losing Republican candidates, executives began the brutal process of assessing what went wrong at the nation’s leading business organization.

The Chamber spent nearly $24 million to defeat several high- profile Democratic Senate candidates, including Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, former governor Timothy M. Kaine in Virginia and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But out of 15 Senate races where the business organization put down money, only two went the Chamber’s way.

The results were not much better in the House, where the Chamber poured more than $7 million into 22 races, according to the CRP. The Chamber’s candidates picked up only four wins.

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Think Progress: REPORT: ‘Voter Fraud’ Protection Group Submitted Forged Documents To Ohio Election Officials

-By Josh Israel

November 6, 2012- Volunteers with True the Vote, a Tea Party group that claims it is trying to fight voter fraud by challenging the right of voters to vote, may have committed fraud themselves. Plunderbund, an Ohio-based political blog, reported Monday that members of the group attempted to sign up as poll observers in African American-heavy precincts in central Ohio, but may have forged signatures to do so.

While local candidates officials had authorized members of the group to serve as designated observers on forms filed in October, five of the six Franklin County candidates had withdrawn permission to use their signatures prior to the submission of this week’s forms. According to one candidate, the True the Vote volunteers simply “forged” her name onto the document — possibly a 5th degree felony.

According to the report:

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Huffington Post: RNC 2012: GOP Shadow Groups Eclipsing Party In Tampa

-By Peter H. Stone

August 28, 2012- TAMPA, Fla. — A shift of power from the official Republican party apparatus to an informal coalition of megadonors, super PACs and nonprofit advocacy groups is underway here, as a rising shadow party increasingly drives GOP politics.

Mel Sembler, a Florida shopping mall magnate and a key member of the Romney campaign's finance team, is planning to open his home Tuesday for a few hours to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future to let the group's leaders chat up potential donors on their plans, according to GOP fundraisers who requested anonymity to preserve their relationship with the groups.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, top strategists for three powerhouse GOP allies — the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads groups; billionaires Charles and David Koch, who founded Americans for Prosperity; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — are planning to huddle at a local hotel to coordinate efforts to spend tens of millions more on television ads and voter turnout, according to sources close to the groups, who were not authorized to speak on their behalf.

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