Legal challenge to 'dark money' political campaigns

A defeated Illinois congressional candidate and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit against the IRS for allowing tax-exempt 501(c)4 nonprofits to spend millions in attack ads in political campaigns. (TPMMuckraker, February 19, 2013, by Eric Lach) Under federal law, the nonprofits do not have to identify their contributors hence “dark money.”

CREW contends that the American Action Network, a 501(c)4 nonprofit spent an estimated $1.5 million to defeat Democratic congressional candidate David Gill in a close election in 2012. (The Hill, February 19, 2013, by Bonnie Becker)

The IRS has wrongly, according to the lawsuit, interpreted the existing federal law on the  nonprofits to require them to “primarily” engage in social welfare rather than “exclusively” as the law states. (Broadcasting & Cable, February 19, 2013, by John Eggerton) -db