IRS pushes to rein in tax-exempt political groups

By Andrew Taylor

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27 2013 2:18 p.m. MST

Treasury and the IRS don't have a proposal yet about what proportion of a 501(c)(4) group's activities must promote social welfare and are soliciting input. In other words, they don't have a recommendation as to what percentage of a group's time and money can be spent on politics.

Some of the outside groups that could be affected by the proposal, including Crossroads GPS and Priorities USA, did not have any initial reaction to the announcement. The groups are expected to weigh in on the rulemaking as it proceeds.

Any changes to the regulations likely would not affect the 2014 elections because of legal challenges but the rule changes could shape the next presidential election, said Kenneth Gross, a campaign finance attorney and former head of enforcement for the Federal Election Commission.

"Brightening what are now blurred lines — what is political activity — is not only useful but necessary to have some kind of clarity to a vehicle that has been used to the tune of millions and millions of dollars," he said.

But Gross cautioned that "this is a long and winding road before anything is in ink."

Associated Press writer Ken Thomas contributed to this report.

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