Lawbreakers In The 2010 Elections May Go Unpunished By The FEC, IRS For Years

This is extremely disheartening to me.  It means that these same people will be doing the same thing in 2012…

Huffington Post – Amanda Terkel

With an unprecedented amount of spending and a surge of new independent expenditure organizations thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, there will also likely be an incredibly high number of complaints filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which are responsible for enforcing election and tax laws. But these complaints won’t have any effect on the 2010 midterm elections. In fact, according to campaign finance experts, it’s unlikely that they will ever go anywhere, and even if they do, lawbreakers could go unpunished for years.

Already, independent political groups are facing complaints. Recently, a coalition of the U.S. Chamber Watch, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Corporate Ethics International and Main Street Alliance filed a complaint with the IRS alleging multimillion-dollar tax fraud by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Watchdog organizations Public Citizen and Protect Our Elections last week filed a complaint with the FEC against Crossroads GPS, led by former Bush advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie. Crossroads is also facing a complaint from Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center to the IRS, alleging that the group “is operating in violation of its tax status because it has a primary purpose of participating in political campaigns in support of, or in opposition to, candidates for public office.”

Continue reading…   The IRS A Slow Regulatory Agency

Secret Donations Could Haunt 2012

Huffington Post – Howard Fineman

Republicans, buoyed this fall by freelance groups spending secret donations on TV ads, should fear what comes next: an especially vicious GOP presidential race in 2012 fueled, ironically, by that same kind of cash.

In other words, the Swift Boaters of ’04 could be back in ’12 — this time torpedoing potential Republican nominees — while President Obama can stay safely ashore.

Hard-core conservative “independent” money, roaming the landscape for contenders to attack, could play havoc; so, too, could hidden money from the left, moving by stealth to cripple electable candidates.

“All of the infrastructure of these shadow parties will be established and in place,” said Evan Tracey of the Campaign Media Analysis Group. “They’ll be tempted to pick a side, pick a candidate, and get involved.”

For now, the Supreme Court rulings on campaign finance have done what they were expected to do: give Republicans a huge boost — nearly a 9-1 cash advantage in independent spending, according to Tracey.

Corporations are funneling money into trade associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — a fact that President Obama is noting at every campaign stop.

But the bulk of the action — and money — tends to involve individual, high-rolling conservative donors who stayed away from the action in 2006 and 2008.