As primary season begins to wind down, outside conservative groups are still pouring money into TV ads and mailers, trying to score a few upsets against longtime incumbents.Continue reading
The politicians may love to hate Washington but guess where most of the money being spent on their behalf is going.Continue reading
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 ...Continue reading
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 ...Continue reading
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.Continue reading
As often happens, Washington’s big story of the moment--that the Internal Revenue Service targeted dark money groups that filed for nonprofit status if they had the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their monikers--misses the big point. Of course the IRS should never be used for political purposes; it should apologize for giving an extra scrutiny to groups requesting non-profit status if they appeared to be Tea Party affiliates. Our question is: Why did they pick on the little guys when they’ve got so many larger, more legitimate targets for scrutiny?Continue reading
Tea Party activist Mark Meckler has joined the leadership of the Campaign for Primary Accountability (CPA), a disruptive super PAC aimed at ousting long-term incumbents from Congress. He has become part of a four-person, conservative leadership team of a group that says its aims are nonpartisan.
Meckler officially joined the $2.5 million super PAC, one of the outside groups spending the most in congressional primaries, as a senior advisor earlier this week but said he has been friends with its founders for quite some time and got to know them through the Tea Party movement. He resigned from the ...Continue reading
It's hard to believe given this year's headlines, but not all of the political action committees making an impact on this year's campaign are super PACs.
While most of the attention has focused on the entities that can accept and spend unlimited money, the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama, a traditional political action committee that's abiding by federal limits on contributions and spending, got plenty of attention when it launched an ad blitz before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses that accused GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney of being a covert liberal.
Ryan Gill, the Campaign to ...Continue reading