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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Crossroads GPS & IRS

The GOP group Crossroads GPS is, Jonthan Martin reports, putting a substantial $750,000 behind this ad, which paints unions and their leaders as greedy and Democrats as dependent on them.

The broad national buy might be puzzling, but keep in mind that non-profit groups like Crossroads, which poured millions into electoral politics last year, are now required by the IRS to spend the same amount on their "primary purpose" of policy advocacy. That's the legal downside of a structure that allows you to conceal your donors, and will likely explain this and other broad-brush, relatively low-impact policy advocacy from a group whose 2010 work was more surgical.

The good news for Crossroads is that its donors seem willing to pour money into this broader advocacy, protecting it from the legal issues that crippled some 501(c)4s, notably the left-leaning Progressive Media.

The Washington Post reports:

Crossroads GPS was founded with backing from Karl Rove, a political adviser to President George W. Bush, and concentrated its spending to produce attacks on vulnerable Democrats last year. But the group was formed as a "social welfare" organization under the tax code, allowing it to avoid revealing donor names.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) discovered that Crossroads's application had not been approved.

Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio said that any new nonprofit would face the same IRS backlog and that "reading anything into it beyond a typical procedural issue is irresponsible."

Collegio added: "CREW focuses its complaints overwhelmingly against conservative groups - ignoring that Crossroads GPS complies fully with the same laws that govern 137,000 nonprofits, all of which can legally engage in advocacy."