Huffington Post: Crossroads GPS Argues Ads Attacking Candidates Aren’t Political

-By Dan Froomkin & Paul Blumenthal

May 7, 2012- WASHINGTON — Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, the political ad-buying organization cofounded by Republican strategist Karl Rove in 2010, has officially submitted its first tax forms with the Internal Revenue Service, and as expected, the group is formally requesting that the IRS treat it as a nonprofit operating under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code.

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New York Magazine: Sugar Daddies

The old, white, rich men who are buying this election.

-By Frank Rich

April 22, 2012- If you want to appreciate what Barack Obama is up against in 2012, forget about the front man who is his nominal opponent and look instead at the Republican billionaires buying the ammunition for the battles ahead. A representative example is Harold Simmons, an 80-year-old Texan who dumped some $15 million into the campaign before primary season had ended. Reminiscing about 2008, when he bankrolled an ad blitz to tar the Democrats with the former radical Bill Ayers, Simmons told The Wall Street Journal, “If we had run more ads, we could have killed Obama.” It is not a mistake he intends to make a second time. The $15 million Simmons had spent by late February dwarfs the $2.8 million he allotted to the Ayers takedown and the $3 million he contributed to the Swift Boat Veterans demolition of John Kerry four years before that. Imagine the cash that will flow now that the GOP sideshows are over and the president is firmly in Simmons’s crosshairs.

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Huffington Post: Koch Brothers, Chamber of Commerce Face Possible Campaign Donation Disclosure After Ruling

-By Paul Blumenthal

March 30, 2012- WASHINGTON — On Friday evening, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling that could begin the process of revealing the identities of secret donors to groups connected to Karl Rove and the Koch brothers.

The court ruled in Van Hollen v. Federal Election Commission that the FEC rules that restricted campaign donor disclosure are not valid and must be changed to provide for disclosure.

"We are very happy to see the judge got it right," says Paul Ryan, a lawyer for the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance watchdog that was a part of the team challenging the FEC rules.

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NY Times: Hatch Weighs In on Tax Status of ‘Super PACs’

-By Jonathan Weisman

March 9, 2012- Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, joined the fight over the tax status of “Super PACS” on Friday, accusing Senate Democrats of a “politically motivated witch hunt” for their efforts to rein in tax-exempt political groups.

Mr. Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, was responding to a letter by seven Senate Democrats demanding that the Internal Revenue Service establish a clearer test limiting the politicking of 501(c)(4) groups like American Crossroads, a Republican group, and Priorities USA, a Democratic outfit. The letter, which still has not been sent, also requests stronger rules preventing corporate donors from deducting Super PAC contributions from their taxes, and it threatens legislative action if the I.R.S. fails to act.

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NY Times: Scrutiny of Political Nonprofits Sets Off Claim of Harassment

-By Jonathan Weisman

March 6, 2012- WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is caught in an election-year struggle between Democratic lawmakers pressing for a crackdown on nonprofit political groups and conservative organizations accusing the tax agency of conducting a politically charged witch hunt.

In recent weeks, the I.R.S. has sent dozens of detailed questionnaires to Tea Party organizations applying for nonprofit tax status, demanding to know their political leanings and activities. The agency plans this year to press existing nonprofits like American Crossroads, on the Republican side, and Priorities USA, on the Democratic side, to justify their tax-protected status as “social welfare” organizations, a status that many tax professionals believe is being badly abused.

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USA Today: 25% of super PAC money coming from just 5 rich donors

-By Fredreka Schouten, Gregory Korte and Christopher Schnaars

February 22, 2012- WASHINGTON – Five wealthy people, led by Dallas industrialist Harold Simmons and Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, have donated nearly $1 of every $4 flowing to the super PACs raising unlimited money in this year's presidential race, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

Those donations have helped new Republican-leaning outside groups swamp Democratic-friendly super PACs in fundraising — money that is used largely for attack ads. The large sums also have rejuvenated the underfunded campaigns of principal challengers to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the race for the Repulican nomination.

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Huffington Post: Political Nonprofit Investigation Sought By Democrats

-By Paul Blumenthal

February 16, 2012- WASHINGTON — Seven Democratic senators sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) calling for an investigation into social welfare nonprofits that spend large amounts on direct political advertising.

The letter came amid rising concerns that nonprofit groups are acting primarily as political vehicles after the Supreme Court's January 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) allowed them to spend money on express advocacy of candidates, which was previously banned.

Because of their nonprofit status, these groups do not have to disclose donors, making them appealing vehicles for secret political donations in recent years. Social welfare nonprofits, organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, have tax-exempt status as long as their primary purpose is social welfare causes.

But many groups have interpreted this to mean that, as long as they spend 51 percent of their budget on something other than political activities, they are complying with the law.

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