Is the IRS targeting Superpacs?

posted at 11:01 am on June 9, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

Hey… we’ve got some great news for you! The IRS is going after a Democrat funded group sinking money into political campaigns and taking away their tax exempt, non profit status. Isn’t that great?!?!

While the nonprofit wasn’t named, it was Emerge America, its president, Karen Middleton, told Bloomberg News. The national organization is based in San Francisco and works with nine state affiliates that train Democratic women candidates.

Middleton said in an e-mail that the national and state organizations are now incorporated under Section 527 of the tax code, which requires them to disclose their donors.

Not so fast. What’s bad for the goose may, in this case, be just as bad for the gander.

An Internal Revenue Service decision revoking the tax-exempt status of a small political nonprofit organization may foreshadow an investigation into groups such as Crossroads GPS and Priorities USA that spend millions on the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

At risk would be the groups’ nonprofit status, which lets them collect millions of dollars from individuals and corporations while keeping donors anonymous.

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are benefitting from such nonprofits. Crossroads GPS was started with help from former President George W. Bush’s chief political strategist, Karl Rove. Priorities USA was co-founded by Bill Burton, a former Obama aide.

This looks like little more than an end run around Citizens United and a chance for the IRS to pick and choose who they will allow to claim tax exempt status. You can debate whether “money is speech” all you like, but it has to be on an even playing field. This ruling may go against the Democrats, but if it passes muster it sets a precedent which could go after much larger game.

And if you had to put a name to the game in question, what comes to mind first? I’m guessing the initials would be KR…


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…it’s the Chicago way !

KOOLAID2 on June 9, 2012 at 11:03 AM

…I hold the media responsible for this Nazi and his people!

KOOLAID2 on June 9, 2012 at 11:04 AM

…they know they influence opinion…and they did!

KOOLAID2 on June 9, 2012 at 11:05 AM

When they revoke Media Matters’ tax-exempt status, get back to me.

Flora Duh on June 9, 2012 at 11:06 AM

…I want nothing more than to see the alphabet networks to go broke!

KOOLAID2 on June 9, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Lauryn Hill hardest hit.

She bailed on three years of taxes in order to hide her family to protect them from the military-industrial complex. Now she’s facing indictment for income tax evasion and owes over $2 million in taxes and penalties.

Dack Thrombosis on June 9, 2012 at 11:09 AM

…they’ll find nothing…and go after the right side!

KOOLAID2 on June 9, 2012 at 11:09 AM

I’m guessing the initials would be KR…

Their hatred of him is almost as burning as their hatred of Darth Cheney.

Flora Duh on June 9, 2012 at 11:09 AM

The recent IRS decision sends a signal that it may turn its attention after November’s election to major nonprofits involved in this year’s election, said Marcus Owens, a lawyer and former IRS director who oversaw nonprofits.

After November, the lame duck Obama administration will not have time to use the IRS to do its dirty work. And come January, 2013, the IRS will be operating under new management.

AZCoyote on June 9, 2012 at 11:11 AM

I’m torn on this one.

I can see the point, but I’m also in favor of unlimited disclosed campaign donations.

If my congress critter is being bought, I would like to know who is doing the buying.

cozmo on June 9, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Yep. Go after some small Dem (shell?) PAC for cover. Then go in for the kill against Crossroads, etc.

kevinkristy on June 9, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Yep, go after a small fish Dem PAC to justify wholesale slaughter of GOP PACs…par for the course.

AUINSC on June 9, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Neither money nor flag burning are speech. The Supreme Court has been inventing thhings for a long time.

burt on June 9, 2012 at 11:20 AM

This looks like little more than an end run around Citizens United

Tell me, what exactly hasn’t the Obamanation Administration either tried to or done an end run around?

SWalker on June 9, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Some SuperPacs are More Equal than Others.

jaydee_007 on June 9, 2012 at 11:32 AM

This is dumb. Rove’s biggest group is American Crossroads, which is a 527 group. Crossroads GPS is the 501(c)(4) group and is only a small component of Crossroads.

Outlander on June 9, 2012 at 11:41 AM

I’m torn on this one.

I can see the point, but I’m also in favor of unlimited disclosed campaign donations.

If my congress critter is being bought, I would like to know who is doing the buying.

cozmo on June 9, 2012 at 11:12 AM

I’m not a bit ambivalent about it. If your Congressman is bought, it is because your Congressman CAN be bought. What’s more, it is because your Congressman has so much power that people are willing to spend the money to buy him. I say, remove all limits on contributions. This is America, the land founded on the principle of free speech. That goes for political speech, especially.

Laws against free speech have one purpose. That is to provide advantage to the people who are in office, the ones who write those laws. End all incumbent preservation acts!

Bear in mind, that speech does not include conspiring with lobbyists. That is where access and favors that become law are pernicious. Close the doors on K Street! When in office, our representatives work for us, all of us and nobody should be allowed greater influence than anyone else.

MJBrutus on June 9, 2012 at 11:53 AM

This is just a ripple on the surface… the Obama Admin want to go after MUCH BIGGER FISH… under the cover of ‘fairness’…

Good luck with that…

Khun Joe on June 9, 2012 at 11:54 AM

burt on June 9, 2012 at 11:20 AM

So you agree that Roe v Wade was invented out of thin air and should be over-turned.

chemman on June 9, 2012 at 12:02 PM

More disturbing is this anecdote: My tax accountant told me the IRS is targeting other, less visible folks.

ALL of the audits he has seen in the last 18 months are of conservative small business owners.

Joe Mama on June 9, 2012 at 12:03 PM

The IRS, government sponsored terrorism.

Speakup on June 9, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Let me guess – Emerge America was one of those PACs pushing for a Hillary Clinton primarying of Obama.

Steve Eggleston on June 9, 2012 at 12:16 PM

This ruling may go against the Democrats, but if it passes muster it sets a precedent which could go after much larger game.

Exactly. Somehow Emerge is seen as an acceptable sacrifice, once it’s done the administration can use that as cover. Whenever someone complains about them targeting conservative groups, they’ll point to Emerge America and say “see, we’re being non-partisan,” as if they were somehow equal in size and influence.

The national organization is based in San Francisco and works with nine state affiliates that train Democratic women candidates.

Insert “War on Women” comment here.

sockpuppetpolitic on June 9, 2012 at 1:14 PM

What? This organization is nothing like Crossroads or any other issues organization.

This organization was for training very specific people for an elected position. It’s not issues related at all.

How anyone could construe Crossroads as being in the same boat is mindboggling.

ButterflyDragon on June 9, 2012 at 1:22 PM

I dunno about this one…after our Wisconsin thing (ain’t over yet btw because I really expect to see something from the Milw Co DA soon making the Kleefisch win all the more important), seems to me that the GOP was not afraid to show where the money came from (those EVIL Koch Bros…tee hee hee)…

…on the other hand, I tried and tried to see where the left money was coming from…layers and layers of conduits…I came away with nothing…

…like everything else in the left world (like they can force a recall under the rules but let’s eliminate those same rules allowing no limits on defense for the target), they don’t like Cit U but would scream bloody murder if we demanded full disclosure on everything.

teejk on June 9, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Lauryn Hill hardest hit.

She bailed on three years of taxes in order to hide her family to protect them from the military-industrial complex. Now she’s facing indictment for income tax evasion and owes over $2 million in taxes and penalties.

Dack Thrombosis on June 9, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Why did she want to hide her family?

No sarc, just curiosity.

MelonCollie on June 9, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Whatever happened 2 “Congress Shall Make No Law”??

disclosing donors 2 “protect” elections also threatens politics of elections.

claiming some people and organizations “tax exempt” and others not threatens free speech.

‘make no law’ seems very wise right now…

mathewsjw on June 9, 2012 at 4:07 PM