POLITICS
03/07/2012 06:29 pm ET

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE - IRS May Act On Political Nonprofits

The Internal Revenue Service is sending out letters to nonprofits that are politically active, indicating a change in protocol that very well might affect the major political nonprofits like Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity in an election year where they plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars. This is a big deal, "In recent weeks, the I.R.S. has sent dozens of detailed questionnaires to Tea Party organizations applying for nonprofit tax status, demanding to know their political leanings and activities. The agency plans this year to press existing nonprofits like American Crossroads, on the Republican side, and Priorities USA, on the Democratic side, to justify their tax-protected status as “social welfare” organizations, a status that many tax professionals believe is being badly abused."

The bolded section above appears un-sourced, but would be a major shift in the IRS' policy towards these groups.

Rick Hasen, an election law professor at UC-Irvine and the author of the Election Law Blog, tells HuffPost Fundrace, "Expect Republicans to hold hearings in the House stating that the IRS is involved in a political investigation."

An AP article has more details and explains that the groups being questioned by the IRS believe that this is political intimidation. Fox News carries a similar story with Tea Party groups who have been asked to answer questions about the political nature of their organizations calling the IRS effort "intelligence gathering."

Senate Democrats and campaign finance reformers have called for the IRS to investigate these political nonprofits that appear to be engaged in nothing more than electioneering.

How much did the Republican candidates and their super PACs spend per delegate won last night in the 11 Super Tuesday states? HuffPost ran the numbers. A graphic is available here.

Newt Gingrich and Winning Our Future spent $38,541 for each one of the 72 delegates he won.
Mitt Romney and Restore Our Future spent $36,360 for each of the 208 delegates he won.
Rick Santorum and Red White And Blue Fund spent $19,000 for each of the 84 delegates he won.
Ron Paul (his super PAC did not run any ads) spent $4,847 for each of the 21 delegates he won.

The Federal Election Commission is moving to do away with regulations that were made obsolete after Citizens United and subsequent court cases based on the Citizens United ruling.

Prominent trade groups that are big lobbying spenders in Washington have opened super PACs to increase their influence.

A fascinating investigation by ProPublica here aims to reverse engineer a single e-mail, that had multiple variants, asking for small campaign donations from the Obama campaign. This is possibly the campaign keeping track of how much donors have given previously and tailoring their ask to each individual donor's preferred amount to give.

The Montana Wildlife Foundation is running ads against Denny Rehberg in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

Romney and Santorum are going up with ads in Alabama and Mississippi.

Not quite money-in-politics related, but apparently the FBI is investigating Rep. Cliff Stearns for allegedly attempting to pay his primary opponent to get out of the race.

Super PAC of the week: Why Not ZoidPAC

AD WATCH

Help us populate our list of campaign videos. Send any notable TV, radio or web ads that you see to Fundrace. Send your submissions to paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.

Committee: American Future Fund
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Give The Money Back"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Campaign for Primary Accountability
Candidate Opposed: Donald Manzullo
Spot: "Rock The Boat - End Donald Manzullo's Cruise"
Market: Illinois-16.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Dan Llijenquist for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Orrin Hatch
Spot: "Orrin Hatch And Nationalized Health Care"
Market: Utah.
Buy: Undisclosed.

TRACKING INDEPENDENT SPENDING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

These numbers represent spending by independent groups, like super PACs and non-profits, to support or oppose a particular candidate for the presidency in 2012. Fundrace will update this spending daily to help show which candidates are gaining from the proliferation of independent groups in this coming election.

Newt Gingrich (R), $9,707,415 to support, $18,405,716 to oppose. (Support: +$33,895, Oppose: +$25)
Rick Santorum (R), $5,278,367 to support, $11,949,822 to oppose. (Support: +$1,876, Oppose: +$631,465)
Mitt Romney (R), $2,238,582 to support, $5,869,021 to oppose. (+$23,842)
Rick Perry (R), $4,167,697 to support, $1,404 to oppose.
Ron Paul (R),$3,746,817 to support, $133,333 to oppose. (+$25,304)
Jon Huntsman (R), $2,453,204 to support, $0 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $287,153 to support, $813,197 to oppose. (+$25)
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

Restore Our Future, $629,492 to oppose Rick Santorum for President in Mississippi.
Susan B. Anthony List, $1,354 to support Rick Santorum for President.
Susan B. Anthony List, $522 to support Rick Santorum for President.
Human Rights Campaign, $23,842 to oppose Mitt Romney for President.
Human Rights Campaign, $1,973 to oppose Rick Santorum for President.
Human Rights Campaign, $25 to oppose Newt Gingrich for President.
Human Rights Campaign, $25 to support Barack Obama for President.
Endorse Liberty, $25,304 to support Ron Paul for President.
Senate Conservatives Fund, $237,581 to support Don Stemberg for Senate in Nebraska.
Winning Our Future, $6,779 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Kansas.
Winning Our Future, $6,779 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Alabama.
Winning Our Future, $3,208 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Hawaii.
Winning Our Future, $6,779 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Mississippi.
Winning Our Future, $3,208 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Illinois.
Winning Our Future, $3,208 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Louisiana.
Winning Our Future, $3,208 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Missouri.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Why Not ZoidPAC, Cambridge, Mass., Treasurer: Daniel Ben-David. (Super PAC)

Send tips, hints, submissions, rumors to HuffPost Fundrace at paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.

ALL-ALSO-ON-HUFFPOST

Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?

CONVERSATIONS