POLITICS
03/09/2012 06:49 pm ET

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE - Secret Corporate Donations Might Not Be Secret Forever

The potential IRS investigation of nonprofits directly engaged in elections could wind up with their donors losing their anonymity and big fines for the groups. HuffPost reports, "[I]n a sign that the agency may be waking from its slumber, the IRS has sent detailed questionnaires to several Tea Party organizations -- and possibly other political groups -- to determine if they truly qualify for the 501(c)(4) designation intended for groups whose exclusive purpose is to promote social welfare.

Should any group currently calling itself a 501(c)(4) have its designation denied or revoked, tax experts said the consequences could be severe, including fines of 35 percent or more of the money they raised in secret.

And the groups might have to make donors' names public.

Even loose talk about donor secrecy no longer being guaranteed could put a screaming halt to the extraordinary flow of money into these groups from deep-pocketed people and corporations that want to buy political ads without leaving fingerprints."

Three Democratic super PACs -- Priorities USA Action, Majority PAC, and House Majority PAC -- have teamed up in a super joint fundraising committee. This committee can accept unlimited funds and will distribute them between the three groups. Each group has a different focus: Priorities USA Action is the Obama-approved super PAC backing his reelection, Majority PAC support Senate Democrats, and House Majority PAC support Democrats running for the House.

The mystery super PAC that elected a nobody in the Democratic primary in Ohio's 2nd district may have run afoul of the law. Meanwhile, Jean Schimdt, the Republican congresswoman in Ohio's 2nd district who lost her primary race on Tuesday, denied involvement in the shady super PAC robocalls.

Publicly-traded corporations are not giving to super PACs. This should come as no surprise despite the confusion that has arisen since corporations were given the right to spend money in elections and super PACs were created around the same time. Those corporations are just giving money anonymously to nonprofits like those described in the above HuffPost article.

Mitt Romney calls in the cavalry by leaning on Washington insiders for more money.

Elizabeth Warren is raising quite a bit of money from out-of-state and Scott Brown is trying to make hay out of it.

Rick Hasen runs the numbers on whether Citizens United led to super PACs and the huge growth in outside spending -- non-candidate and non-party -- in elections.

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: Adam Kinzinger for Congress
Candidate Opposed: Donald Manzullo
Spot: "Lost His Way"
Market: Illinois' 16th District.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Scott Brown for Senate
Spot: "The People's Pledge"
Market: Massachusetts. (Radio ad)
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), $9,715,917 to support, $18,405,716 to oppose. (+$8,502)
Rick Santorum (R), $5,777,179 to support, $14,321,002 to oppose. (Support: +$498,650, Oppose: +$238,981)
Mitt Romney (R), $2,256,992 to support, $5,869,021 to oppose. (+$14,680)
Rick Perry (R), $4,167,697 to support, $1,404 to oppose.
Ron Paul (R),$3,746,817 to support, $133,333 to oppose.
Jon Huntsman (R), $2,453,204 to support, $0 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $287,153 to support, $863,197 to oppose. (+$50,000)
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, $75,737 to oppose Rick Santorum for President in Mississippi.
Restore Our Future, $3,854 to support Mitt Romney for President in Mississippi.
Restore Our Future, $163,244 to oppose Rick Santorum for President in Alabama.
Restore Our Future, $10,826 to support Mitt Romney for President in Alabama.
Winning Freedom, $8,502 to support Newt Gingrich for President.
MoveOn.org, $16,277 to oppose Brad Schneider for Congress in Illinois' 10th District.
Life And Liberty PAC, $50,000 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
Red White And Blue Fund
, $223,650 to support Rick Santorum for President in Mississippi.
Red White And Blue Fund, $275,000 to support Rick Santorum for President in Alabama.
American Foundation Committee, $23,850 to support George Holding for Congress in North Carolina's 13th District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $19,798 to oppose Jesse Jackson, Jr., for Congress in Illinois' 2nd District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $28,271 to oppose Donald Manzullo for Congress in Illinois' 16th District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $29,308 to oppose Spencer Bachus for Congress in Alabama's 6th District.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $45,655 to oppose Jo Bonner for Congress in Alabama's 1st District.
FreedomWorks for America, $24,855 to oppose Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Restoring America Project, Phoenix, Ariz. Treasurer: Timothy Leon Selaty, Jr. (Super PAC)
Unity 2012, Washington, D.C., Treasurer: Diana Rogalle. (Super PAC Joint-Fundraiser)
Proper Role of Government Action Fund, Salt Lake City, Utah, Treasurer: Jason Powers. (Super PAC)
Supporting Black Leadership, Newark, N.J., Treasurer: Alexandra Toribio.
Keeping America Competitive PAC, Greenwich, Conn., Treasurer: Leonard Tannenbaum.

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

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