Must-read Dan Eggen report for WaPo: “Nearly all of the independent advertising aired for the 2012 general-election campaign has come from interest groups that do not disclose their donors, suggesting that much of the political spending over the next six months will come from sources invisible to the public. Politically active nonprofits that do not reveal their funding have spent $28.5 million on advertising related to the November presidential matchup, or about 90 percent of the total through Sunday, a Washington Post analysis shows.”
I do have a question about one part of the story:
One Crossroads GPS spot currently running in Virginia, for example, castigates the president for high energy costs. “No matter how Obama spins it, gas costs too much,” the female narrator says. “Tell Obama: Stop blaming others and work to pass better energy policies.”
Despite its anti-Obama message, the ad is not considered an election-related message under FEC and IRS guidelines. That means the money spent to air the spot — about $204,000 in the Richmond, Charlottesville and Washington markets — will not count as part of the group’s political budget, experts say.
I take it that the only reason that this ad is not considered an election related message under FEC regulations is that it is not run in the electioneering communications time window (60 days before the general–a period which would be extended under the DISCLOSE Act). But would the IRS not consider this to be a political ad in judging the 501c4’s primary purpose?