IRS rarely audits nonprofits for politicking

By Julie Patel

New documents show the federal tax agency almost never audits nonprofit groups for illegal politicking.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… g too much money on politics, according to new information obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. The IRS told the Center for Public Integrity that it has only begun audi …"

"… information obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. The IRS told the Center for Public Integrity that it has only begun auditing 26 organizations specifically for politica …"

"… s. “The IRS is not doing its job,” Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., told the Center for Public Integrity. “There have been not only some obvious abuses of the tax exemption by s …"

"… onse to a Freedom of Information Act request filed in December 2013 by the Center for Public Integrity. It follows an investigation the Center for Public Integrity published in …"

Why industry is trying to tell you how to think

By Erin Quinn, Chris Young and Kimberley Porteous

How we investigated the top message peddlers influencing public policy — and why you should care.

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Chemistry Council":

"… r the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were advertising agencies. EQ: And the American Chemistry Council was another example of a group that relied pretty heavily on public relati …"

"… y on public relations. CY: That’s right. In 2008, for example, the American Chemistry Council spent nearly $35 million on public relations services. All of their top co …"

"… ber of awards and praise for making the situation less problematic for the American Chemistry Council. Sounds like a job well done.  CY: Yeah I guess so.  Not …"

Who needs lobbyists? See what big business spends to win American minds

By Erin Quinn and Chris Young

Trade groups pay top PR, advertising firms $1.2 billion over five years to influence public.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Business":

"… embers take recycled cooking oil and animal fats and turn them into fuel. Business associations — led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — represented the s …"

"… dustry trade group wasn’t the firm’s only client. Others included the Business Roundtable ($9.9 million), a group of CEOs who advocate for Business-frien …"

Federal politics findings you may have missed

By The Center for Public Integrity

Were you paying attention? Here are some of the major money-in-politics stories the Center helped bring to light in 2014.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… ce of "dark money" on elections, we knew 2014 would be a busy year for the Center for Public Integrity's federal money-in-politics team. We launched a major project tracking sp …"

Koch group's income plummeted in non-election year

By Carrie Levine

Nonprofit Center to Protect Patient Rights raised in 2013 a tiny fraction of what it did during 2012, when federal political campaigns raged

Excerpts from this story referencing "Arizona":

"… . Prosper Inc. was founded in 2013 by Kirk Adams, a former speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, who this month was appointed as the new chief of …"

"… Representatives, who this month was appointed as the new chief of staff to Arizona Gov.-elect Doug Ducey, a Republican. The Center to Protect Patient Rights …"

"… ation. Both Prosper Inc. and the 60 Plus Association poured money into an Arizona campaign aimed at making customers who use solar power pay more. In Octob …"

"… aimed at making customers who use solar power pay more. In October 2013, Arizona Public Service Co., the state’s largest utility, publicly acknowledged f …"

Koch-linked operative mum on mystery millions

By Michael Beckel

Sean Noble oversaw a seven-figure grant to American Commitment, which says it wasn't the beneficiary. So where did the money go?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Politics":

"… pparent discrepancy, which was first reported by the Center for Responsive Politics, American Commitment President Phil Kerpen said his group didn’t get the …"

Conservative group fumbles disclosure in new tax document

By Michael Beckel

Koch-linked nonprofit American Commitment to amend tax documents after questions from the Center for Public Integrity.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Responsive Politics":

"… of money all the more difficult," said Robert Maguire, a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics, which monitors money in politics. "When organizations aren't careful how …"

Koch-linked organization uses ‘dark money’ to fight political disclosure

By Michael Beckel

Most of the $13 million raised by American Commitment has come three Koch-backed groups.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Club for Growth":

"… s week. Led by Phil Kerpen — a veteran of Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth and the Cato Institute — American Commitment has vigorously opposed effo …"

Crossroads GPS' cash plummeted in 2013

By Carrie Levine

Conservative nonprofit's income drop coincided with a non-election year.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Ed Gillespie":

"… GPS, co-founded by Republican political operative Karl Rove and strategist Ed Gillespie, has maintained it adheres to federal laws governing nonprofits. It repor …"

Secret politics pervade popular companies

By Dave Levinthal

Some well-known brands keep their political spending secret while others are more forthcoming, new survey shows.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission":

"… received significant attention since 2010, when the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision granted them powerful spending freedoms. Corporations may n …"

How to fix the IRS nonprofit division

By Julie Patel

Employees, reformers offer three recommendations for improving the agency's flagging nonprofit division.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Responsive Politics":

"… 2 election cycle, a presidential election year, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Create a regulatory agency for nonprofits — one separate from the IRS. …"

Hobbled IRS can't stem 'dark money' flow

By Julie Patel

Budget and staffing cuts, endless congressional investigations keep IRS from investigating activities of political nonprofits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Treasury":

"… because members may benefit from the groups, said Alex Reid, a former U.S. Treasury fellow who was also a staffer for the Joint Committee on Taxation. " …"

"… estigations by congressional committees, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Treasury's inspector general. "Accordingly, it is inappropriate for the IRS to com …"

"… t at this time on these matters," IRS spokesman Bruce Friedland said. The U.S. Treasury provided a brief statement that in part reads: "The IRS and Treasury work …"

Is this super PAC subverting disclosure rules?

By Michael Beckel

Georgia's GOP Senate primary has attracted big money from a super PAC funded by two nonprofit groups tied to an Ohio lobbyist.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Paul S. Ryan":

"… on illustrates a big hole in disclosure when it comes to super PACs," said Paul S. Ryan, an attorney at the Campaign Legal Center. "The ability of super PACs to r …"

IRS says liberal group too political for 'social welfare' status

By Michael Beckel

Tax agency rejects pro-Blanche Lincoln group's application for tax-exempt status, calling it too focused on influencing elections.

IRS chief promises stricter rules for 'dark money' nonprofit groups

By Julie Patel

Agency chief says he'll tackle exactly how political 'social welfare' groups can get.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington, D.C.":

"… uestions,” he said. Sitting on Koskinen’s desk at IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C., was a 4-inch binder with 1,200 pages: a sampling of comments on all sides …"

Tobacco money fuels gay Republicans, business organizations

By Michael Beckel

Reynolds American gave thousands of dollars to politically active nonprofits such as the Log Cabin Republicans, Americans for Prosperity.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… ty of Life Fund has also received financial support from companies such as Aetna and CVS Caremark, as the Center for Public Integrity has previously report …"

United Nations report: 'Children on the Run' from violent homelands

By Susan Ferriss

Numbers of Central American and Mexico minors who say they're fleeing violence are surging.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mexico":

"… they fear armed criminal gangs, including drug cartels, and many kids from Mexico — 39 percent — said they feared recruitment into gangs involved in smu …"

"… after being turned back by Border Patrol agents who suggested he return to Mexico and provide information about smuggling routes first. In February, a repo …"

CPAC activists urged to fight IRS

By Michael Beckel and Julie Patel

Tax agency called a 'cancer' and 'criminal enterprise' at conservative convention.

Excerpts from this story referencing "advocate for or against candidates":

"… ction Commission ruling in 2010 that in part allowed nonprofits to overtly advocate for or against candidates. An IRS spokesman declined to comment to the Center for Public Integrity …"

Nonprofits spend money on campaigns despite benefactors' warnings

By Julie Patel

Despite warning, four nonprofits spent money on 2012 elections.

Excerpts from this story referencing "attorney general":

"… ees could get in trouble for not following their donors’ wishes. A state attorney general, for example, could go after such groups and the IRS could follow suit, sa …"

Transfers allow nonprofits to spend more money on campaigns, experts say

By Julie Patel

Groups move money to maximize amount that can be used to advocate for or against candidates.

Excerpts from this story referencing "bank":

"… purposes to a small nonprofit that has just a few thousand dollars in the bank. The smaller nonprofit could then go to donors and make the case that ever …"

Pulling back the veil on corporate contributions

By Michael Beckel and Erin Quinn

New database pulls back veil on corporate giving to politically active nonprofits and covert ways companies advance their agendas.

Highlights of Offshore Leaks so far

By Kimberley Porteous and Emily Menkes

Highlights of ICIJ's offshore leaks investigation.

Center thankful for stellar reviews from charity watchdogs

By Bill Buzenberg

Nation's leading nonprofit evaluators give us accountability rankings to be thankful for.

Business groups assail political transparency

By Dave Levinthal

Letter from U.S. Chamber, others charge Center for Political Accountability with laying 'disclosure trap' for corporations.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Corporation":

"… tical disclosure and that the CPA-Zicklin Index's methodology is flawed. "Corporations do NOT support increased political and lobbying 'disclosure,'" reads the …"

CVS backs Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's NERD Fund

By Michael Beckel

Pharmacy chain's donation to Michigan governor's group offers a rare glimpse into the funding of politically active nonprofits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… doesn't know who donates to a controversial nonprofit he created. But the Center for Public Integrity has identified at least one corporate powerhouse that has lent financial s …"

Companies disclosing more political spending

By Dave Levinthal

Study: Companies are increasingly volunteering information about their politicking, but 'severe' gaps remain.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bank of America Corp.":

"… Hathaway, are among those earning goose eggs. Internet giant Yahoo! Inc., Bank of America Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Priceline.com Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and CBS Corp. m …"

Some charities claiming to support veterans spend heavily on overhead instead

By Chad Garland and Andrew Knochel

News21 investigation finds that some charities supposedly supporting veterans actually spending more to keep their program alive.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Trade Commission":

"… ployees of other divisions of the IRS, Owens said. From 2008 to 2009, the Federal Trade Commission and charity enforcement officials from 49 states and Washington, D.C., cra …"

World Bank approves loan to sugar plantation amid concerns about kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

World Bank approved $15M loan to Nicaraguan sugar plantation, even as industry is ravaged by disease.

Excerpts from this story referencing "World Bank":

"… . Yet only weeks after the health ministers issued their declaration, the World Bank approved a new loan to expand a sugar plantation in Nicaragua, renewing it …"

"… ion in Nicaragua is estimated to create 1,300 new rural jobs, according to World Bank documents. Over the last two years, the International Consortium of Inves …"

"… caraguan sugar plantation that received substantial loans in 2006 from the World Bank’s private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation. Sic …"

"… f the mystery. Now, for the first time since the controversy emerged, the World Bank has approved a new loan to another Central American sugar plantation withi …"

More corporations revealing 'dark money' donations

By Dave Levinthal

Corporations are still mostly mum about political contributions, but more and more are reporting donations to secretive nonprofits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "America":

"… ability’s full study is slated for release later this month, Freed said. …"

State legislators' ties to nonprofit groups prove fertile ground for corruption

By Nicholas Kusnetz

New York scandals reveal corrupt ties between lawmakers, nonprofit groups

Excerpts from this story referencing "Vito Lopez":

"… ng was restored. But the council may also be thriving because its founder, Vito Lopez, was for years one of New York’s most powerful politicians — a state l …"

"… director is Lopez’s girlfriend. This may look bad. It’s not unusual. Vito Lopez is but one example of a surprisingly common phenomenon afflicting state le …"

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