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Friday, April 20, 2018
Kim Barker

Pro-Troop Charity Misleads Donors While Lining Political Consultants’ Pockets

by Kim Barker, ProPublica. In February 2013, Move America Forward announced an ambitious fundraising goal. The charity, launched in part by one of the most prominent figures in the Tea Party movement, had adopted the 800 Marines in a battalion fighting in Afghanistan and wanted to send them all care packages. “For some troops, these […]

August 5, 2014

The IRS Moves To Limit Dark Money — But Enforcement Still A Question

by Kim Barker, ProPublica. The IRS and Treasury Department announced proposed guidelines clarifying the definition of political activities for social welfare nonprofits Tuesday afternoon, a move that could restrict the spending of the dark money groups that dumped more than $254 million of anonymous money into the 2012 elections. Read the guidelines here. However, the […]

November 27, 2013

New Tax Return Shows Karl Rove’s Group Spent Even More On Politics Than It Said

by Kim Barker, ProPublica. On its 2012 tax return, GOP strategist Karl Rove’s dark money behemoth Crossroads GPS justified its status as a tax-exempt social welfare group in part by citing its grants of $35 million to other similarly aligned nonprofits. (Here’s the tax return itself, which we detailed last week.) The return, signed under […]

November 25, 2013
hundred dollar bills money

Dark Money Groups Pay $1 Million In Fines In California Case

by Kim Barker ProPublica. Two dark money groups linked to conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch have paid a record $1 million in fines to California to settle allegations that the combined $15 million they spent on two ballot proposals in the state was not properly disclosed. The civil settlement, announced Thursday afternoon in […]

October 25, 2013

D’Oh! ‘America Is Not Stupid’ Wins IRS Recognition As Tax-Exempt Nonprofit

by Kim Barker, ProPublica. Smart move? The IRS has granted nonprofit status to America Is Not Stupid — a so-called dark money group best known for a 2012 election ad featuring a talking baby who compared the smell of his diaper with a Montana senator. As ProPublica wrote in January, America Is Not Stupid and […]

October 10, 2013

Inside Game: Creating PACs And Then Spending Their Money

by Kim Barker, ProPublica. In August 2008, as the right wing of the Republican Party grew increasingly disenchanted with the party’s direction, the men from Russo, Marsh and Associates sensed opportunity: They created a political action committee, Our Country Deserves Better, and in time launched the Tea Party Express. Russo, Marsh — an established California […]

March 15, 2013

IRS Should Bar Dark Money Groups From Funding Political Ads, Lawsuit Says

by Kim Barker, ProPublica A former Illinois congressional candidate and a government watchdog organization have teamed up to sue the Internal Revenue Service, claiming the agency should bar dark money groups from funding political ads. The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday by David Gill, his campaign committee and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), […]

February 20, 2013

Controversial Dark Money Group Among Five That Told IRS They Would Stay Out of Politics, Then Didn’t

by Kim Barker, ProPublica. Five conservative dark money groups active in 2012 elections previously told tax regulators that they would not engage in politics, filings obtained from the IRS show. The best known and most controversial of the groups is Americans for Responsible Leadership, an Arizona-based organization. Not long after filing an application to the […]

January 2, 2013

In Montana, Dark Money Helped Democrats Hold A Key Senate Seat

by Kim Barker, ProPublica Dec. 27: This post has been corrected. In the waning days of Montana’s hotly contested Senate race, a small outfit called Montana Hunters and Anglers, launched by liberal activists, tried something drastic. It didn’t buy ads supporting the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Jon Tester. Instead, it put up radio and TV commercials […]

December 27, 2012

Karl Rove’s Dark Money Group Promised It Would Spend ‘Limited’ Money On Elections

by Kim Barker, ProPublica. In a confidential 2010 filing, Crossroads GPS — the dark money group that spent more than $70 million from anonymous donors on the 2012 election — told the Internal Revenue Service that its efforts would focus on public education, research and shaping legislation and policy. The group’s application for recognition as […]

December 14, 2012
progressive initiatives on state and local ballots

Key Montana Senate Race Draws Deluge Of Dark Money

by Kim Barker, ProPublica Montana is known for its big skies, jagged mountains and open roads. Not so much for people. Yet as much as $40 million is being spent to tell the state’s 675,000 registered voters who to pick as senator: incumbent Democrat Jon Tester or Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg. That’s almost $60 for […]

November 5, 2012

No Tax Returns For You, Dark Money Groups Say

by Kim Barker, ProPublica It was mid-July and I had come to Hilltop Public Solutions because Jessie Bradley, a partner with the consulting firm, appeared to run two social-welfare nonprofits out of its Washington, D.C., office. ProPublica was preparing a story about how such groups – also known as 501(c)(4)s for their section of the […]

August 22, 2012

Two Dark Money Groups Outspending All Super PACs Combined

by Kim Barker, ProPublica. Two conservative nonprofits, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, have poured almost $60 million into TV ads to influence the presidential race so far, outgunning all Super PACs put together, new spending estimates show. These nonprofits, also known as 501(c)(4)s or c4s for their section of the tax code, don’t have […]

August 13, 2012
Wisconsin, Scott Walker, Economy, Manufacturing, Unemployment, Wage Trends

Political Donations Flagged As Potential Fraud

by Kim Barker, ProPublica   When MaryAnn Nellis tried to pay for groceries on April 14, her credit card was declined. Later, she said, she found out why: Her credit card company, Capital One, had flagged an earlier purchase as potentially fraudulent. The problem? A $5 donation to Friends of Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor’s […]

May 18, 2012

Read The Tax Returns From Karl Rove’s ‘Dark Money’ Group (Donors Still A Mystery)

by Kim Barker, ProPublica   One of the most talked-about “dark money” groups of the election released its tax returns yesterday, showing it raised almost $77 million from fewer than 100 donors over 19 months. Most of the money spent in its first year went directly to political ads or grants to other groups. The […]

April 19, 2012

The Return Of CREEP

by Kim Barker, ProPublica   With 300-plus super PACs and counting, it would be easy to miss CREEP. But last Thursday, a new super PAC ingeniously named the Committee for the Re-Election of the President registered with the Federal Election Commission. The committee is based out of a post office box at the Watergate Complex […]

April 12, 2012