Paul L. Caron

Friday, February 21, 2014

The IRS Scandal, Day 288

Bloomberg:  Big-Money Politics Groups Get Clarity From IRS They Hate, by Richard Rubin:

Groups that want to spend millions of dollars on political campaigns without disclosing their donors are getting a clear road map on how to do so from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

And some of the groups don’t like it one bit.

Republicans criticize the proposed IRS rules as an attack on free speech because they would limit voter guides and candidate forums. The rules also would provide a legal path for groups organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code to air campaign ads.

That would give some of the biggest players from the 2012 campaign, including Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, greater certainty to run ads in ways that don’t risk their tax-exempt status going forward. They could run issue-based ads that mention candidates’ names months before an election, and then switch to a direct pitch closer to the vote.

“If I were sitting in the chair of a conservative political operative, I would be rubbing my palms together hoping that these (c)(4) rules would be adopted,” said Greg Colvin, an attorney at Adler & Colvin in San Francisco who specializes in the political activity of nonprofit groups.

That prospect of benefits for big-money political nonprofit groups -- which are mostly Republican-leaning -- runs counter to the message from Republican lawmakers, who call the IRS rules a political maneuver by the Obama administration to restrict groups favoring smaller government.

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink