The real scandal about the IRS is that they’ve been overwhelmed with dark money groups claiming nonprofit status since the passing of Citizens United, and conservative groups have outspent liberal groups on political spending by 34-1, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the IRS and FEC records.
Open Secrets reported, “Conservative nonprofits that received tax-exempt status since the beginning of 2010 and also filed election spending reports with the Federal Election Commission overwhelmed liberal groups in terms of money spent on politics, an analysis of Internal Revenue Service and FEC records shows.”
Furthermore, their analysis showed, “Of the 21 organizations that received rulings from the IRS after January 1, 2010, and filed FEC reports in 2010 or 2012, 13 were conservative. They outspent the liberal groups in that category by a factor of nearly 34-to-1.”
American Action Network spent $30.6 million in 2010 and 2012 comprises 94% of the conservative total. But Open Secrets notes, “(E)ven without American Action Network, spending by conservative groups approved after 2010 was nearly quadruple that of liberal groups receiving exempt status in the same period.”
Karl Rove’s Crossroads is the biggest spender, reporting spending more than $87.9 million since 2010, but it’s still waiting to be officially approved as tax exempt. Gee, do you think the IRS will be able to be objective when it comes to Crossroads’ overtly political purpose, or will they feel pressured to rubber stamp Karl so as not to cause offense?
Bear in mind that all of these numbers only represent the amount disclosed.
That’s why you were inundated with political ads over the last two elections. According to data released by the Television Bureau of Advertising, local television stations raked in nearly $3 billion in dark money from political ads in 2012. The sources behind that money are rarely revealed to the viewer, sort of like the anonymous trolls of TV.
Making matters worse, the Federal Communications Commission isn’t pushing for dislosure or transparency like they should be, according to a January 2013 report by Government Accountability Office for Congressional requesters. The FCC is responsible for “ensuring that the public when and by whom its being persuaded.”
For content considered political or that discusses a controversial issue,
broadcasters must follow all requirements for commercial content and additional requirements, such as identifying officials associated with the entity paying for an advertisement. In addition, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) enforces federal election law that requires all political communications for a federal election, including television and radio advertisements,
to include a disclaimer statement. FEC also oversees requirements to report campaign funding and expenditures, including funding for political advertising.
It just may be that with all of this overspending, 34-1, conservative groups might have drawn attention to their activities all by themselves. It didn’t help that they are using True the Vote as their IRS Persecution Cause of the Week, when a judge ruled that True the Vote was not a nonprofit, but was actually operating as a PAC, and had illegally aided the GOP.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.