Conservative non-profits that received tax exempt status since the beginning of 2010 and also filed election spending reports with the Federal Election Commission overwhelmed liberal groups in terms of money spent on politics, an analysis of IRS and FEC records shows. Of the 21 organizations that received rulings from the IRS after January 1,2010 and filed FEC reports in 2010 and 2012, 13 were conservative. They outspent Liberal groups 34 to 1, the Center for Responsive Politics analysis reports.
The largest driver of the disparity was American Action Network, who spent $30.6 million in 2010 and 2012, also made up 94% of the conservative group total, according to the FEC. Even without American Action Network, conservative groups outspent liberal groups receiving tax exempt status in the same period nearly 4 to 1. It seems as if the IRS should be investigating Republican groups.
The IRS had done little or nothing to check the rise of overtly political groups that claim a special tax exempt status in order to funnel secret money into election-related advertising. Then when they do something about it, they do it horribly wrong. They give the Republicans ammunition to attack President Obama and take the focus off of more important issues. They sent detailed questionnaires to several Tea Party organizations and other groups who did not complain, to determine if they are truly promoting social welfare.
Should any group claiming 501(c)4 have its designation denied or revoked, tax experts said the consequences could be severe, including fines of 35% or more if the money they raised in secret. The groups may also have to make donors names public. Even loose talk about donor secrecy no longer being guaranteed could put a screaming halt to the extraordinary flow of money into these groups from deep-pocketed people and corporations that want to buy political ads without leaving fingerprints.
The tax code requires 501(c)4 groups to be operated exclusively for social welfare purposes, which does not include intervention in political campaigns. The IRS has allowed the groups to engage in political activity as long as it was not their primary purpose. But for many of these groups, it is hard to see what other purpose they could possibly have.
Republicans outrage over the issue is because of the amount of campaign donations they recieve from groups like this. Hyper-partisanship has run amok in our elections, it is time for campaign finance reform. As well as time to overhaul the tax code and make 501(c)4 groups have zero political affiliation. The end result is when the IRS finally did their job, they did it wrong. But make no mistake, any social welfare group contributing to political campaigns should have their stairs revoked and pay fines and all the tax money they saved.
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