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Tag Archive: Internal Revenue Service

IRS takes aim at $300 million campaign influence industry

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Updated: 11/26; 6 p.m.

Tuesday's surprise announcement that the Internal Revenue Service intends to take aim at campaign spending by so-called social welfare non-profits could substantially alter the political landscape  -- if the tax agency's proposed new regulations eventually take effect. That's a big if given the lengthy and, given the stakes involved, highly contentious path ahead.

Outside groups organized as non-profits poured at least $305 million into the 2012 elections, according to Federal Election Commission figures compiled by the Sunlight Foundation. Those figures likely represent the tip of the dark money iceberg as the groups ...

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Reporter’s notebook: How we came up with that campaign finance maze

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If it makes you all feel any better, campaign finance is hard for us too.

At the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, we make a speciality of money in politics reporting, so when the dark money groups that we often cover burst into the headlines -- on reports that the Internal Revenue Service was denying the coveted tax exempt status to Tea Party groups -- we figured it was time to put what we know about the campaign finance ecosystem out there.

The process turned out to be revealing, if painful.

You can see the final product here. But we learned a lot ...

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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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Tangled web: The IRS role in campaign finance

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Dark Money

With the burgeoning scandal about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) singling out small conservative nonprofit groups for scrutiny, upcoming hearings, and a Justice Department investigation, the public is getting a quick schooling in the byzantine ways tax exempt "social welfare" groups get involved in the political game. 

A long list of nonprofit groups spend big on politics. They run the gamut from well known organizations of long standing, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Crossroads GPS, the brainchild of Republican strategist Karl Rove. As reported in the New York Times, even as it was apparently targeting small Tea ...

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