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Snap! Baucus Wants Probe Of Advocacy Groups

Written By : William Teach
September 29, 2010

Obviously, Max Baucus is rather upset with the money pouring in to elections from both sides…..wait, what?

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The Senate’s chief tax writer has called for a federal investigation into advocacy groups that have become increasingly popular vehicles for outside donations.

These groups, known as 501(c)4s after the section of the tax code that defines them, can raise unlimited donations from individuals, corporations and labor unions to spend on political advertisements.

They don’t have to reveal the names of their donors, because they are established as tax-exempt social-welfare organizations. But tax rules prohibit such organizations from focusing “primarily” on political campaign activity.

On Tuesday, Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, asked the Internal Revenue Service to look into whether the organizations are violating the rules for tax-exempt entities.

Donations from 501(c)4 groups have increased in this election cycle, especially to groups supporting Republicans this year.

So, what we have here is a petty partisan attack on Right side groups, who tend to use the 501(c)4 designation more than Left side groups do, as the Lefties tend to funnel the money through either 527 or 501(c)3 groups. Oh, look, Citizens United has a 501(c)4. So does the Center For American Progress. Which one do you think will get investigated?

Two groups set up with the help of former White House advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie—American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS—plan to spend $52 million to help elect Republicans this fall.

Crossroads GPS is a 501(c)4 organization that doesn’t have to disclose its donors. American Crossroads is set up as an entity that must make the disclosures.

Surely, Baucus will also investigate MoveOn.org,which funnels money from its 501(c)4 Civic Action branch through its 527, so that donors do not have to be listed. Donors like George Soros. It’s not like they mix their two branches in order to advocate policy and push for the election of Democrats and defeat of Republicans.

Obviously, this investigation couldn’t have political roots, right? The craziness by the Dems after the Citizens United case, their push to enact new legislation because of Citizens United, Obama’s whining on the subject this year (would he be talking about it if Dems were getting the money and not in jeopardy of losing the House?). The rise of the TEA Party. I wonder if the People For the American way, a hard left organization which has a 501(c)4, which funnels the money through their 527, will be investigated? Interestingly, they themselves are whining about all the post-Citizens United groups.

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