Watch Out, Karl Rove: New Lawsuit Targets Dark-Money Politics

Swampland

When news broke last spring that the Internal Revenue Service had singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny, the most frustrated group in Washington wasn’t the Obama Administration, which would spend months putting out the fire. It wasn’t conservative Republicans, who were only too happy to hold hearings and caterwaul on cable. It was the campaign-finance reformers, who knew the scandal would overshadow the bigger problem at the IRS.

Since the Citizens United decision in 2010, groups masquerading as social-welfare organizations have capitalized on a 1959 IRS rule that allows tax-exempt groups to participate in political activity. The proliferation of such groups, and the so-called dark money that they poured into ensuing elections, has dramatically reshaped the U.S. political landscape. To campaign-finance watchdogs, the improper targeting of Tea Party organizations was a symptom of a larger problem: the IRS was mistakenly forced to sift through the growing pile of 501(c)(4)…

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