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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dark Money: Pro Publica Goes Beyond Super-PACS

Story of the day, from Pro Publica, on the massive amount of (taxpayer-subsidized) non-profit 501(c)4  money--at least $71 million so far--pouring into this year's election, all nameless. So big that reporter Kim Barker on "Face the Nation" today.  Read the whole thing, but an excerpt:

"Forget super PACs, their much-hyped cousins, which can take unlimited contributions but must name their donors. More money is being spent on TV advertising in the presidential race by social welfare nonprofits, known as 501(c)(4)s for their section of the tax code, than by any other type of independent group.

"An investigation by ProPublica, drawing on documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission, offers the most detailed picture to date of how 501(c)(4) groups have used their tax status for purposes likely never intended. Our examination shows that dozens of these groups do little or nothing to justify the subsidies they receive from taxpayers. Instead, they are pouring much of their resources, directly or indirectly, into political races at the local, state and federal level.

"We found that some groups said they would not engage in politics when they applied for IRS recognition of their tax-exempt status. But later filings showed they spent millions on just such activities."  (h/t Barbara Bedway)

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