The Influence Industry: Challenging the IRS on rules that keep donors secret

Two advocacy groups have filed a petition with the Internal Revenue Service challenging regulations that allow political organizations such as the conservative Crossroads GPS and the liberal Priorities USA to form as nonprofits under the tax code.

The issue comes down to disclosure of donors: Groups that form as nonprofits are not required to reveal them. By contrast, political groups registered with the Federal Election Commission must list all of their contributors.

The IRS allows political organizations to form as nonprofits as long as their “primary purpose” is something other than working on elections. The advocacy groups say in their petition that the IRS interpretation defies laws passed by Congress and interpretations by the courts.

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