IRS Never Approved ”Social Welfare” Application of Karl Rove’s Dark Money Group

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Crossroads GPS, the so-called “dark money” group started by Republican strategist Karl Rove, has been operating for the past two years without approval from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding its nonprofit status.


Rove’s operation filed an application in 2010 with the IRS to receive a social welfare nonprofit classification, but according to ProPublica, Crossroads’ request is still pending.


Under the U.S. tax code, 501(c)(4) groups are tax-exempt because their purpose is “social welfare.” They are allowed to engage in a certain amount of political activity, but politics cannot be their primary focus.


According to the application, Crossroads planned to spend half its efforts on “public education,” 30% on “activity to influence legislation and policymaking” and 20% on “research,” including sponsoring “in-depth policy research on significant issues.”


In fact, Crossroads spent more than $70 million from anonymous supporters on the 2012 election. According to Kim Barker of ProPublica, “Within two months of filing its application, Crossroads spent about $15.5 million on ads telling people to vote against Democrats or for Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections.”


The assumption is that the IRS is giving the application extra scrutiny before making a decision. If the IRS decides to reject the nonprofit application, Crossroads would be legally obligated to disclose the identity of its many secretive donors.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Karl Rove’s Dark Money Group Promised IRS It Would Spend ‘Limited’ Money on Elections (by Kim Barker, ProPublica)

Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a) (pdf)

Karl Rove Group Pours Anonymous Millions into Anti-Obama Ads (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

IRS Clashes with Conservative Campaign Groups Claiming Non-Profit Status (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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