By Kim Barker

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

December 14, 2012 11:06 am Category: Memo Pad 26 Comments A+ / A-
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 a social welfare nonprofit acknowledged that it would spend money to influence elections, but said “any such activity will be limited in amount, and will not constitute the organization’s primary purpose.”

Political insiders and campaign-finance watchdogs have long questioned how Crossroads, the brainchild of GOP strategist Karl Rove, had characterized its intentions to the IRS.

Now, for the first time, ProPublica has obtained the group’s application for recognition of tax-exempt status, filed in September 2010. The IRS has not yet recognized Crossroads GPS as exempt, causing some tax experts to speculate that the agency is giving the application extra scrutiny. If Crossroads GPS is ultimately not recognized, it could be forced to reveal the identities of its donors.

The tax code allows groups like Crossroads to spend money on political campaigns — and to keep their donors private — as long as their primary purpose is enhancing social welfare.

Crossroads’ breakdown of planned activities said it would focus half its efforts on “public education,” 30 percent on “activity to influence legislation and policymaking” and 20 percent on “research,” including sponsoring “in-depth policy research on significant issues.”

This seems at odds with much of what the group has done since filing the application, experts said. 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.

“That statement of proposed activities does not seem to align with what they actually did, which was to raise and spend hundreds of millions to influence candidate elections,” said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, who reviewed the group’s application at ProPublica‘s request.

Officials with Crossroads GPS would not answer specific questions about the material in the application or whether the IRS had sent a response to it.

“As far as we know, the Crossroads application is still pending, in which case it seems that either you obtained whatever document you have illegally, or that it has been approved,” Jonathan Collegio, the group’s spokesman, said in an email.

The IRS sent Crossroads’ application to ProPublica in response to a public-records request. The document sent to ProPublica didn’t include an official IRS recognition letter, which is typically attached to applications of nonprofits that have been recognized. The IRS is only required to give out applications of groups recognized as tax-exempt.

In an email Thursday, an IRS spokeswoman said the agency had no record of an approved application for Crossroads GPS, meaning that the group’s application was still in limbo.

“It has come to our attention that you are in receipt of application materials of organizations that have not been recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt,” wrote the spokeswoman, Michelle Eldridge. She cited a law saying that publishing unauthorized returns or return information was a felony punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment of up to five years, or both. The IRS would not comment further on the Crossroads application.

ProPublica believes that the information we are publishing is not barred by the statute cited by the IRS, and it is clear to us that there is a strong First Amendment interest in its publication,” said Richard Tofel, ProPublica‘s general manager.

ProPublica has redacted parts of the application to omit Crossroads’ financial information.

With its sister group, the super PAC American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS has helped remake how modern political campaigns are financed.

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Karl Rove’s Dark Money Group Promised It Would Spend ‘Limited’ Money On Elections Reviewed by on . 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 2 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 2 Rating:

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Comments

  • clarenceswinney

    TAXES—WHO PAY MOST OF THEIR INCOME
    ————–1%—-middle class
    Income—-23%——-8%
    Payroll—-2%——–10%
    (state sales7%——–10%
    property
    excise)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7DKWSXHQIDBW5PUAPZ2HZAYYUY Baron Cormac

      I don’t know about you, but the 8% you claim I pay hits me a hell of a lot harder than the 23% did Willard, and the Kochs. Actually, I end up paying more like 16% on a family income of less than 120K.

  • bpai99

    No surprise here. Rove got approval under false pretenses and then proceeded to run wild. You can accomplish so much more if you are not burdened by scruples or integrity.

    • jarheadgene

      And had his MORON… sorry mean Mormon candidate won. We would never have gotten one word of this. AHHHHHH to the victor go the spoils. And to see that cheating, lying, dishonorable human garbage go down, that would “Make my Day!”

      • bpai99

        You got it.

        “The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.” – Adolf Hitler

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Jones/827014412 Daniel Jones

    As it has not been approved, i propose that the IRS investigate the money spent and who provided it, naming no names unless those activities prove to go against the application’s stated goals.

    Oh, and if Crossroads IS in violation of its stated goals, charge them and their donors for the taxes–with names named.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Sehler/100000396279499 John Sehler

      Karl Rove needs to be investigated to the Maximum.The Bush debacle was enough.

      • one_veteran

        Can we put Fat BOY Rove in that rocket with half a load of fuel????

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Sehler/100000396279499 John Sehler

    Karl Rove in all his wisdom has made the electoral process a sham. With the Help of our illustrious Supreme Court and Citizens United the honest vote has been turned into a dollar bill

    • one_veteran

      Carl Rove has “Wisdom”????? in his little toe nail??

  • Del WS

    If there is justice in this world, Karl Rove and his organizations will be thoroughly investigated and their actions proven to be not only immoral, but also illegal.

  • howa4x

    Gee, more corruption in our political system. I would have never dreamed it
    LOL

  • William Deutschlander

    Rove should be investigated and charged with TREASON!

  • http://twitter.com/trevino_sr Jose L. Trevino Sr

    Crossroads and Little Man are cooked!

  • http://twitter.com/trevino_sr Jose L. Trevino Sr

    If found guilty, he should serve his time with the General Prison Population.

    Let’s keep an eye on the IRS–will they look the other way or will they do what is right
    and proper!

  • onedonewong

    Their POINT??? Take a look at NAACP, LaRaza , Media Matters, Planned Parenthood,

    • bertye brown

      The organizations you have listed do have a teaching/educational awareness component attached to them and at least one does give scholarships to qualified students. What has Crossroads done that even remotely resembles what these organizations have done? One would be hard pressed to try and find how Rove’s Crossword organization has done anything but been a propaganda machine for the ultra conservativeolitics.

      • onedonewong

        Crossroads GPS has a teaching/educational awareness component just look at the commercials that they run

        • WhutHeSaid

          OneDingDong, you are without a doubt the most prolific liar posting on The National Memo. Did anyone ever teach you how to tell a truth, or perhaps even back up your whoppers with some shred of evidence — no matter how far-fetched?

          • onedonewong

            when you don’t have a rebuttal or a point drop to the ad hominems pretty standard demorat mentality

        • jarheadgene

          Teaching by means of lies is only “educational” to brown shirt nazis, tea party and republicans.

          • onedonewong

            Let me know when Barak nad his band of socialist tell the truth, hasn’t happened in 5 years

    • Sand_Cat

      You forgot yourself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

    All of this will go away as soon as Karl Rove sends the refund checks back. I mean, that would be the honorable thing to do, wouldn’t it?

  • dalnb

    We must always remember Karl Rove was the political advisor to GW Bush – we can see what that did for America. The man is a looser; we should soon see him as a FOX TV and radio talk show contributor!

  • jarheadgene

    I believe an Audit is in Order for these guys at Crossroads GPS. We highly suspect they are tax cheats, we already know they are LIARS, now let’s see the evidence. Then, let’s see the prosecution.

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