Tags: Super | PAC | Applications | IRS

Surge in Super PAC Applications Led to IRS Targeting

Tuesday, 14 May 2013 06:46 PM

By Todd Beamon

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
An IRS overburdened by a burst of applications from super PACs after two big Supreme Court rulings most likely led agency employees to begin targeting tea party groups, observers said on Tuesday.

“There's a pretty direct link between the Citizens United line of cases and why the IRS is put in this position," Rick Hasen, an election law professor at the University of California-Irvine, told The Huffington Post, “although it does nothing to explain how the IRS decided to deal with this problem.”

Last week, Lois Lerner, director of the IRS' exempt organizations division, apologized for targeting conservative groups.

She said that between 2010 and 2012, “we started seeing a very big uptick in the number of 501(c)(4) applications we were receiving.”

The number “more than doubled — about 1,500 in 2010 and over 3,400 in 2012,” Lerner said.

And lower-level employees in Cincinnati resorted to using such monikers as “tea party,” “patriot” and “9/12” to screen applications, among other tactics, she said.

“Lois Lerner left me with the impression that the agency, at least at the lower staff level, was at least overwhelmed by the number of applications that they had to process — and they came up with some shortcuts to handle the processing of these applications and made some pretty big mistakes in how they developed those shortcuts,” Paul S. Ryan, a lawyer at the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance watchdog group, told the Post.

“They can be very useful tools, but they're only tools and they're not perfect tools,” Charles Watkins, a tax lawyer at Webster, Chamberlain & Bean, told the Post. “It was an unfortunate choice of terms because it suggests that the IRS was only looking for a certain kind of conservative organization — even though it was pretty clear to everyone that there are liberal organizations that seem to be doing pretty much the same thing.”

Two Supreme Court decisions gave rise to the flood of super PACs: Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life in 2007 and Citizens United v. FEC in 2010.

The decisions reversed a bevy of campaign finance regulations, opening the door for 501(c)(4) groups to engage in increasing amounts of political activity, the Post reports.

Tax-exempt 501(c)(4) nonprofits can accept unlimited contributions from any source — without disclosing their donors — and they have become the vehicle of choice for those wanting to contribute “dark” money to political campaigns on various levels.

The change led to a spike in the number of 501(c)(4) applications submitted to the IRS, and gave officials the added role of overseeing partisan politics.

In addition, the IRS has been under growing pressure from Congress and campaign finance watchdog groups to scrutinize 501(c)(4) applications more closely.

Nonprofit groups spent more than $100 million on political activities in the 2010 election and more than $300 million in the 2012 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Democrats and campaign finance reform groups have demanded that the IRS reject applications from groups like Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit founded by Karl Rove that spent $25 million on TV spots attacking President Barack Obama during the 2012 election, the Post reports.

"It's just another example of just the inability of the IRS to really enforce what are really political election campaign regulations," Ofer Lion, a lawyer who works with tax-exempt organizations at the Hunton & Williams law firm, told the Post. "These are career civil servants down in the IRS basement somewhere without adult supervision trying to deal with problems they don't know how to deal with."


© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

In-Flight Medical Calls Spike on Ebola Fears

Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 19:22 PM

As a doctor who advises flight crews about medical issues that crop up in the air, Paulo Alves has heard a lot about Ebo . . .

Family: Texas Nurse Declared Ebola-Free

Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 19:11 PM

A Texas nurse infected with Ebola after caring for a Liberian man who died from the disease no longer has the virus, her . . .

Betsy McCaughey: CDC Making Big Mistake on Ebola Patients

Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 15:59 PM

The new Ebola strategy announced Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not the right remedy to ens . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved