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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