CNN: Senate Democrats to hold Super PAC hearings

-By Ted Barrett

February 1, 2012- Washington (CNN) – Senate Democrats announced Tuesday they will hold hearings beginning later this month examining what they see as the negative impact of super PACs on the election process.

They also will work to develop legislation to require the disclosure of all donors to the increasingly powerful political organizations.

At the hearings, Democrats will ask organizers and possibly donors to testify.

"The more the public learn about this, the more reviled they will be about what's happening," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. "That involves having hearings and asking people why they gave and what motivated them. Showing people the affects."

Democrats wouldn't say who they would ask to testify, but at a news conference they repeatedly complained about two organizations run by Republican Karl Rove that raised $51 million last year – $33 million of which came from undisclosed donors.

Super PACs are flooding the airwaves with advertising during the Republican presidential primaries and caucuses.

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Politico: Obama’s not-so-super PAC

-By Glenn Thrush and Kenneth P. Vogel

January 18, 2012- Last spring, Sean Sweeney — a co-founder of Priorities USA Action, Barack Obama’s not-so-super super PAC — rode an elevator up to a donor’s office atop a Chicago skyscraper, hoping to ride down with a big check.

His pitch: Sure, Obama has made a career of railing against the power of big money in politics — but the president’s 2012 campaign needs a handful of his rich supporters to write six- and seven-figure checks to counter the hundreds of millions Karl Rove and others plan to raise for Republicans.

Sweeney’s host leaned back in his chair, pained expression on his face, and asked: “Is this what we’ve become?”

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TruthDig: Bernie Sanders Explains Why Congress Fears Citizens United

-By Bill Boyarsky

December 16, 2011- It took just 12 minutes and 29 seconds on the Senate floor for Sen. Bernie Sanders to expose the real power of corporate America over our elections. It should be a rallying cry for the embattled minority trying to clean up the system.

Sanders, one of two Independents in the Senate (along with Joe Lieberman), was speaking Dec. 8 on behalf of his proposed constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s devastating Citizens United decision, which permits corporations, unions and issue advocacy organizations to spend unlimited amounts of money from their own funds to support or oppose candidates.

As the nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog The Center for Responsive Politics said of Citizens United, it “has profoundly affected the nation’s political landscape” and resulted in “unprecedented political spending. Secret donors. New ways for unions and corporations to spend money on politics.”

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Huffington Post: Karl Rove’s ‘Fully Coordinated’ Super PAC Ads Drive The FEC To Deadlock

-By Paul Blumenthal

December 1, 2011- In a Thursday session featuring a lengthy and testy exchange between two commissioners and the repeated invocation of comedian Stephen Colbert, the Federal Election Commission deadlocked on a 3-3 vote on yet another controversial campaign finance issue raising the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

American Crossroads, the multimillion-dollar conservative super PAC linked to Karl Rove, had sought to run a variety of ads featuring members of Congress. The question before the FEC was whether super PAC ads featuring a member of Congress would violate the coordination ban, which blocks certain interactions between independent groups like American Crossroads and candidate committees.

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Huffington Post: Political Groups Are Flouting IRS Rules To Keep Donors Secret, Reformers Say

-by Dan Froomkin

September 28, 2011- Good-government advocates on Wednesday asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate four groups they say are blatantly flouting the law by claiming tax-exempt status as "social welfare" groups when they are in fact overtly political organizations.

The so-called c4 designation, in addition to exempting organizations from taxes, also allows groups to keep their donors secret — even while accepting unlimited funds.

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Huffington Post: Crossroads GPS, Priorities USA Violate Tax Laws: Reform Groups Allege In IRS Petition

-By Dan Froomkin

July 27, 2011- WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service should crack down on organizations that are soliciting anonymous tax-free donations for blatantly political purposes, two good-government groups demanded Wednesday.

Political organizations like Karl Rove-affiliated Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies (GPS) have embraced 501(c)(4) tax status as a way to secretly funnel unlimited contributions from big donors into colossal political-advertising buys — unleashing a flood of secret campaign money the likes of which haven't been seen since Watergate.

Unlike section 527 of the tax code, which was explicitly created for political advocacy groups, section 501(c)(4) doesn't require groups to disclose their donors. But that designation was intended for what are known as "social welfare" groups.

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Press Release: POE Continues Pursuit Against Anonymous Donations

ProtectOurElection.org Continues Pursuit Against Anonymous Donations After IRS Denies 501(c)(4) Status To Three Groups Which Engage In Partisan Political Activities

New Action Helps Root Out Corruption in 2012 Elections

07.20.2011– Washington, DC – After several complaints lodged by ProtectOurElections.org, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) denied 501(c)(4) status to three unnamed organizations for engaging in partisan political activities, according to news reports this week.

According to The New York TImes, the ruling is causing concern among lawyers representing a new breed of groups that have illegally used 501(c)(4) status to hide millions in donations used to attack political candidates

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