As we speculated in May, “Republicans Are Using the IRS Scandal to Hide Their Koch Fueled Shady Activities .”
Busted. Karl Rove’s SuperPAC Crossroads GPS spent more money than it said it did on politics, according to a new tax return procured by Kim Barker at ProPublica.
Examining the Crossroads tax documents at the request of ProPublica, Marcus Owens – the former head of the IRS’ Exempt Organization division – definitively declared, “That’s called bullsh*t with a serving of horsesh*t on the side.”
It looks as if Rove’s group is playing a shell game with non-profit grants in order to qualify for “social welfare” status. ProPublica got their hands on Crossroads GPS’ 2012 tax return — “signed under penalty of perjury” they remind us — in which Crossroads cited grants of $35 million to nonprofits.
The return “specified that the grants would be used for social welfare purposes, ‘and not for political expenditures, consistent with the organization’s tax-exempt mission.’ But that’s not what happened,” per Barker.
According to new tax documents, at least $11.2 million was spent on political activity, and when this number is added to their 2012 total, it means that Crossroads spent about 45% of its total expenditures on politics. However, in order to qualify for tax exempt status, their primary purpose must be social welfare.
Or, as Owens put it, “bullsh*t with a serving of horsesh*t on the side.”
Of course, just because Kim Barker did all of the hard work to bust Crossroads and an expert agrees doesn’t mean the deliberately neutered IRS will touch them.
Senator Dick Durbin was on to Rove’s scam in May of this year, during the heat of the fake IRS scandal meant to do exactly what it did – force the IRS to back off conservative groups out of fear of looking like they were targeting them, when in truth the IRS targeted both liberal and tea party groups.
Fox was outraged that Durbin mentioned Rove’s Crossroads. So Durbin explained to Fox News in May (my bold), “Citizens United really unleashed hundreds, if not thousands, of organizations seeking tax-exempt statuses to play in political campaigns. The law we wrote as Congress said that they had to exclusively be engaged in social welfare and not politics and campaigning. And so, here is the IRS trying to decide whether or not these organizations really comply with the law. Crossroads was exhibit A. They were boastful about how much the money they were going to raise and beat Democrats… what we basically need to say is all groups need to have the law applied to them equally.”
The fictional IRS scandal did indeed cause the IRS to back off of big conservative groups like Karl Rove’s Crossroads. Back in May the New York Times reported, “Some election lawyers said they believed a wave of lawsuits against the I.R.S. and intensifying Congressional criticism of its handling of applications were intended in part to derail those audits, giving political nonprofit organizations a freer hand during the 2014 campaign.”
The real IRS scandal is the influx of dark money courtesy of Citizens United, and the right’s widespread abuse of 501(c)(4). And that’s a big old side helping of “horsesh*t”, Karl Rove style.
Between the government shutdown squeezing the IRS so that they are sending letters out to almost every taxpayer in America asking for documents they already have but lost and the ginned up “IRS targeting conservatives” fake scandal, the IRS has been preemptively and deliberately neutered — just like the media. However, it’s their choice to be neutered. They could refuse to be manipulated in such clear and obvious ways. It’s called blind justice– applying the law without deference to shoddy media coverage of Republican deception.
The laws should apply to everyone, not just the little guys.
Ms. Jones is the 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.