July 23, 2012 |
After more than a year of needling the Internal Revenue Service to tighten standards for election spending by nonprofit groups, advocates for campaign finance reform may have finally provoked the agency to make a change. Crossroads GPS on the Republican side, Priorities USA on the Democratic side and other, similar, groups have taken advantage of a provision of the tax code that allows them to shield the names of their donors from public view. The provision, Sec. 501(c)4 of the code, was originally written for groups whose purpose is to promote social welfare, including local cultural preservation committees or community associations, but because of the anonymity it allows, it has become the favored way to set up entities that seek to influence elections.
August 20, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Another ominous sign for embattled Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin: the heavyweight conservative groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS are pulling out of the state and halting their advertising against Akin's opponent, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. “The act speaks for itself,” Crossroads spokesman Nate Hodson said Monday. Akin caused a furor Sunday after suggesting in a television interview that women who have experienced “legitimate rape” can biologically prevent a pregnancy.
April 20, 2012 |
Washington -- Priorities USA Action, the "super PAC" supporting Obama's reelection, raised $2.5 million in March, ending the month with just over $5 million in the bank. Its biggest benefactor was Amy P. Goldman, a New York-based writer and philanthropist who gave the group $1 million. Comedian Chelsea Handler gave the group $100,000. The pro-Obama group, which has struggled to raise money, nevertheless got more in March than American Crossroads, the heavyweight GOP super PAC that was founded in part by Karl Rove.
May 14, 2013
One of the great outrages of the Watergate scandal was President Nixon's use of the Internal Revenue Service to harass his political opponents. Yet some IRS officials appear to have forgotten what happens when tax law enforcers pick their targets based on their politics. A forthcoming report from the agency's inspector general is expected to describe how IRS employees inappropriately scrutinized grass-roots conservative groups that were seeking tax-exempt status. If that happened, it's unacceptable, and Congress should find out what involvement, if any, the Obama administration had in the abuses.
July 6, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- Forget any summer lull before the conventions. Voters in battleground states will be swamped with campaign television ads in coming weeks, as was evident Friday when conservative advocacy group Crossroads GPS announced it would spend $25 million in the next month on spots hitting President Obama on the economy. The commercials - technically “issue ads,” because they do not explicitly call for Obama's defeat - will air Monday through early August in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.
October 19, 2010
Whatever the outcome of the November congressional elections, the voters are already the losers. They are being inundated by attack ads paid for by organizations with benign-sounding names that refuse to identify their donors. Democracy 21, a campaign-spending watchdog group, estimates that as much as $300 million will be spent anonymously in this election cycle; voters will never know where the money came from. Consider this (misleading) attack on Sen. Barbara Boxer: " California seniors are worried.
October 7, 2010 |
Democrats and their allies, moving to counter millions of dollars flowing to Republican campaigns from groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have accused the international business organization of using foreign money to influence American elections. The effort to paint conservative political groups as fronts for multinational corporations and foreign billionaires gathered steam this week after an affiliate of the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress charged that the chamber was using funds from foreign corporations to finance its political operations in Washington.
September 26, 2012 |
Here's a short list of Democrats who secretly hope Mitt Romney gets his presidential campaign turned around fast and gives President Obama a run for his money: Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic Senate candidate in North Dakota; Jon Tester, the Democratic senator from Montana; and Rep. Shelley Berkley, the Democratic Senate candidate in Nevada. Why? Because they're all in close Senate races - and they're all worried about a potential flood of Republican money into their states if Romney's campaign begins to look like a losing proposition.
March 8, 2012 |
A new list of most-aired political ads shows a range of groups making their early mark on the 2012 election. Of the five most-aired spots this election cycle, three were aimed at general election voters and the other two promote Mitt Romney in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination, according to a list compiled by Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group. The list reflects a landscape in which Republicans have far outpaced Democrats in the formation and financing of “super PACs” and the use of so-called social welfare organizations to run anonymously funded ads. (Watch the ads below.)
June 26, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - During their long campaign to loosen rules on campaign money, conservatives argued that there was a simpler way to prevent corruption: transparency. Get rid of limits on contributions and spending, they said, but make sure voters know where the money is coming from. Today, with those fundraising restrictions largely removed, many conservatives have changed their tune. They now say disclosure could be an enemy of free speech. High-profile donors could face bullying and harassment from liberals out to "muzzle" their opponents, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)