ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
54°
Overcast
H 76° L 60°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    54°
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 76° L 60°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    74°
    Evening
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 76° L 60°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    62°
    Morning
    Thunderstorms. H 75° L 48°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

IRS to target 'dark money' political spending

In you were anywhere near a TV in 2012, you probably remember ads like these.  

"Tell him for real job growth stop spending and cut the debt."

"He's the $200 million man."

The groups behind them — groups like Crossroads GPS and the League of Conservation Voters — could see their ability to influence elections next time around limited, big time.

Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced new guidelines for defining these tax-exempt groups — also known as 501c4s.  

According to The Wall Street Journal, “The new 'guidance' ... would curtail a broad array of these tax-exempt entities' activities, including campaign advertising, voter registration, get-out-the-vote efforts, and distribution of voter guides and campaign materials."

If you’re wondering the reason for all this, think back to the Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 Citizens United Ruling. That essentially opened the door for some labor unions and corporations to raise and spend as much money as they wanted — and best part, they could keep keep their donors secret. (Via CNN

NICHOLAS CONFESSORE: "There are donors that don't want their names in the paper, they're afraid of boycotts, they're afraid of being called names. So C4 groups have given those donors — left and right —  a way to spend money, get money in politics." (Via MSNBC

Under current regulations, these non-profit groups may conduct political activity as long their "primary" activity promotes "social" welfare." (Via Internal Revenue Service)

​In other words, they can spend as much as they want to influence elections, so long as they are independent of candidates. (Via Center for Responsive Politics)

If that sounds a little shady, it’s because it is. That part of the tax code can apply to everyone from a local volunteer fire department or rotary club  — to the Koch brother's conservative group Americans For Prosperity, which poured tens of millions of dollars into a campaign to defeat President Obama back 2012. All qualify as 501c4s  — so long as they're not telling you who to vote for — at least not directly. 

But that’s a standard that’s hard to define, as The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein explains: “Nowhere does the IRS mention 'an organization formed by top political operatives for the clear and obvious purpose of reelecting or defeating the president.' But that's what 501(c)4s have become."

The new rules attempt to further define them by saying “candidate-related political” activity does not promote social welfare. As for how well this can be enforced …

Politico’s Byron Tau and Lauren French say don’t be fooled —  dark money, as it’s known, isn’t going anywhere. “Even if the Obama administration takes an aggressive stance when the final regulations are released, political groups could circumvent the rules by converting into other types of entities not governed by the rules.”

Kim Barker at  ProPublica speculates funneling money through “trade associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will become the vehicle of choice for anonymous money in politics.”

 The proposed regulations are seen as a reaction, in part, to the IRS controversy that erupted six months ago. It was revealed then the agency was giving extra scrutiny to some conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. (Via ABC)

The new guidelines aren't yet finalized. There will be a lengthy public comment period first — which means they may not go into effect until after next November’s elections.

- See more at newsy.com

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • Still smarting from last week’s meltdown on a bill to overhaul the Obama health law, House Republicans used a closed door “family meeting” in the U.S. Capitol to both clear the air, and see if there was a way to push forward again on a plan to make major changes to Obamacare. “We had a very constructive meeting with our members,” said Speaker Paul Ryan about the focus on a GOP measure on health care reform. “I’m not going to put a timeline on it.” “I think there’s a good healthy discussion going on in there,” said Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), one Republican who has been publicly critical of the more conservative group of lawmakers known as the Freedom Caucus. “We need to not quit until the moment that we find the right solutions,” said Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL). Various GOP lawmakers described the meeting as a “soul searching” moment; one said it was a “family feud of sorts.” “It was really about trying the best we can to come together,” said Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), a prime ally of President Donald Trump in the House. While Collins said the GOP should avoid recriminations, he still managed to throw some verbal elbows at the Freedom Caucus, at one point labeling them as a group of “perfectionists on our far right.” As for the Freedom Caucus, the leader of that group again said they are willing to reach a deal on health care, as Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) urged lawmakers to postpone a scheduled Easter break if needed to forge a deal. Freedom Caucus Chair Meadows say he doesn't think members should go home for recess until they pass healthcare bill, wants to get to 'yes' — Deirdre Walsh (@deirdrewalshcnn) March 28, 2017 Others in the Freedom Caucus though were ready to support only one thing first, and that is repeal of the Obama health law – and then move on to figure out what’s next. “We will find out who is truly for repealing Obamacare, and who is not,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who says he will use a process known as a “discharge petition” to try to force action on his bill to just repeal the Obama health law. In the end, while there was a lot of positive talk about moving forward, there was no concrete sign that somehow differences had been bridged among more moderate and conservative lawmakers in the GOP on health care. GOP SUMMARY: Republicans cannot agree on whether to agree to disagree. — Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) March 28, 2017 After the meeting, Speaker Paul Ryan echoed the assessments of his rank and file. “This discussion was an honest and very constructive step forward,” he told reporters. But there was no immediate breakthrough on an overhaul of the Obama health law.
  • What would you do if you found yourself with your father’s life in your hands? That was the situation 14-year-old Tex “T” Mitchell IV faced one afternoon while sailing on Lake Belton, west of Temple, Texas, with three of his friends under the guidance of his dad. >> Read more trending news “My dad started laying down and said he couldn’t really breathe,” T said. “We didn’t know what was going on.” His dad, Tex Mitchell, leader of Boy Scout Troop 410, had invited some boys in the troop, most of whom had little prior sailing experience, out on the lake that day last summer. “I had forgotten my hat and I didn’t think it affected me that much, but I didn’t know what else to blame it on,” said Mitchell, who initially thought he was experiencing an asthma attack or heat exhaustion. In reality, he was having a heart attack. “As I became more and more incapacitated,” he said, “the boys really had to take command of the vessel and get us back.” Time was ticking, and every second counted. What should they do? T, who had started taking sailing classes with his dad two years before, was the only one with enough experience to take the boat back to the marina. But he had never done it on his own before. While he navigated the boat, friends Jake Yepez and Aaron Walls performed first aid on Mitchell, using ice and water bottles from the cooler in hopes of lowering his temperature. They also asked him questions to keep him engaged. “For the questions, it was mostly where were you born, what’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you as a child. … I was trying to make sure that he didn’t go unconscious,” Yepez said. “When we were about to get into the marina he seemed to be talking much less.” T got the boat into the marina at the Lake Belton Yacht Club on his first try and called 911. Yepez and Walls continued first aid, while friend Alex Graves ran inside to tell the employees what was happening. Within minutes, the whole group was in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital. Mitchell ended up having two stents implanted in his cardiac arteries. “I am super proud of them and super thankful, too,” Mitchell said. “They did a fantastic job. The doctors were very clear that the speed with which I arrived at the hospital was critical to my really fantastical, remarkable recovery.” He also believes Scouting played a large role in the boys’ ability to react quickly in a stressful situation. “I credit the scouting program for really teaching them the leadership qualities and bravery to step up when a situation arises that requires them to act with authority,” he said. “I really credit the Scouting program for myself being alive today.” But even though in recent months the boys have received statewide attention and multiple honors for their heroism, they remain modest. “I don’t feel like a hero,” Graves said. “I just am fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to go sailing. I just felt really good about him getting a full recovery, because I know how much it would have hurt T if he hadn’t had a full recovery, that being his dad.” T, who described the experience of saving his dad’s life as “pretty scary,” said he’s glad that he and his dad learned to sail together — and will continue to sail together. “You have really good opportunities if you know how to sail,” T said. “If your friend ever takes you sailing and something bad happens, you know how to take control.” Now that he’s had some time to reflect on all that’s happened, his dad, too, is grateful for his son’s ability to take control. “I always knew my son was a hero,” Mitchell said. “I just didn’t know he was going to be my hero.”
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden said he regrets not running for president in 2016 and he thinks he could have won the election if he had followed through with his plan to run. >> Read more trending news “I had planned on running for president, and although it would have been a very difficult primary, I think I could have won,” Biden said during a speech Friday at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. “I don’t know, maybe not. But I thought I could have won. […] I had a lot of data, and I was fairly confident that if I were the Democratic Party’s nominee, I had a better than even chance of being president ... Do I regret not being president? Yes.” Biden, 73, said he believes he was “the best qualified” for the position. But Biden said he doesn’t regret the time that he spent with his son, Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015. Being on the campaign trail would have taken away from that. In September 2016, Biden revealed that he had planned on running for president, but after his son was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, part of his “soul was gone.” “No man or woman should run unless they are capable of giving every ounce,” Biden said. “I wasn’t healthy enough to pour my whole heart and soul into the effort.”
  • A pair of escalator mechanics have been arrested after police say they tampered with an escalator in the Langham Place mall in the Mong Kok area of Hong Kong, causing a dangerous situation. They were questioned after an incident in which the escalator abruptly changed directions, sending passengers plummeting to the ground floor of the mall. Eighteen were injured; one man was hospitalized in serious condition for a head wound. >> Read more trending news In a statement obtained by CNN, Otis Elevator Co. spokesperson Ian Fok called the arrest of its employees “a surprise.” He added, “Our legal team is working with law enforcement to clarify the situation and intends to defend our mechanics.” Video obtained by the South China Morning Post shows the moment the escalator changed directions, eliciting screams from dozens of people riding at the time.
  • A Canadian man will have to come up with a new vanity license plate, or decide to go with the standard tag, after he was told his plate could be misinterpreted. >> Read more trending news  Lorne Grabher has had his last name on his license plate for decades, but a few months ago received a letter from the Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicles has canceled the plate after 25 years, CBC reported. That’s because others “can misinterpret it as a socially unacceptable slogan.” Grabher is now calling out Nova Scotia officials for discrimination. The Department of Transportation told the CBC via email that they received a complaint over the plate “as misogynistic and promoting violence against woman” and that they cannot mark that it is a name vs. an action. Nova Scotia has made about 3,100 words not acceptable for license plates including HESHE and GOD4U2.