IRS Flagged Small Tea Party Groups, Ignored Rove's $70 Million Dark Money

Since right-wing scandal-mongering began with regard to the IRS' selection of which "social welfare non-profits" to investiage for, well, not being "social welfare non-profits" at all, the investigatory eye has shifted to the IRS itself.  

GOP alarmists have wondered aloud how the agency could engage in ruthless, partisan behavior such as doing its job.  The only legitimate question, however, is why did the IRS scrutinize small, mostly grassroots organizations and ignore the massive political players who quite clearly are operating outside the bounds of legal social welfare non-profit tax exemption?

As the Conservative Intel’s David Freddoso points out, the median income of the groups targeted by the IRS was $16,700. While the IRS was looking at groups with baby budgets it ignored the groups with the most money and influence. Here’s the top 3 501(c)(4)s from election 2012:

Crossroads GPS: Karl Rove’s dark money organization spent more than $70 million in election 2012, all of it undisclosed.

Americans For Prosperity: This Koch Brothers-founded organization spent over $33 million, mostly to attack Obama. It can be assumed much of this money came from the Kochs, but we actually have no idea where it came from exactly because it is not required to be disclosed.

American Future Fund: This pro-Romney group spent nearly $24 million, not a penny of it disclosed to the public.

Following the IRS firestorm there have been calls on Capitol Hill to cut the problem off at the pass, to look more closely at how the IRS grants social welfare tax exemptions in the first place. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) said that, “we need to examine the root of this issue and reform the nation’s vague 501(c)(4) tax laws."  Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) complained that, “the lines blurred between [political organizations] and 501(c)(4), and [the IRS has not seemed] to have done anything about it.”

A conversation about the IRS vis-a-vis social welfare non-profits is incredibly important.  Sadly, the conversation we are currently engaged in as a nation is being framed all wrong.

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