Questions Rise About Anti-Climate Group's Secret Finances

"The conservative nonprofit Americans for Prosperity unleashed a volley of ads aimed at Democrats in last year's midterm elections, but it recently reported to the IRS that it was not active in political campaign activities."

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That's raising questions from some legal experts about how the group is using its growing cash flow from secret donors, and whether the organization is accurately reporting its election efforts to the IRS. Several experts say that AFP's message to the tax agency is wrong. AFP disagrees with them.

The questions arise as advocacy groups on both sides of the political divide have become prominent in elections following the Supreme Court's decision last year allowing the groups to spend unlimited amounts of money, often from corporate or union supporters, on campaign activities. These nonprofits spent $114.4 million on messaging in last year's election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. They spent zero in 2006.

Americans for Prosperity told the IRS in a tax form filed eight weeks ago that it does not engage in political activity, an assertion that frees it from filing any information with the tax agency about election-related expenditures. This comes after the group disclosed spending $1.3 million on dozens of radio spots and several television ads with the Federal Election Commission.  "

Evan Lehmann reports for ClimateWire October 12, 2011.

 

Thursday, October 13, 2011