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Why does the IRS regulate political groups? A look at the complex world of campaign finance

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The controversy over the Internal Revenue Service's handling of applications for non-profit status from Tea Party groups has put a spotlight on a subject with which we at the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group are all too painfully familiar: The migraine-producing complexity of the nation's campaign finance system. To shed some light on the ongoing debate, we've decided to share what we know. As often is the case with systems worthy of Rube Goldberg, it's easier to draw than to describe.

Graphic by Jenn Cheng

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Why offline is the new online

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The history of computing has some interesting trends. First it was all about mainframes. To get anything computed you had to logon to some remote machine so large that if filled a room. Then came along the desktop; desktop apps were (and arguably still are) it. In the 1990's, however, things got pushed onto the web, web sites were the thing, and now with the rise of Ajax, web apps are becoming the new it.

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