“How to Raise $89 Million in Small Donations — And Make It Disappear”

Follow the money at the New York Times:

A group of conservative operatives using sophisticated robocalls raised millions of dollars from donors using pro-police and pro-veteran messages. But instead of using the money to promote issues and candidates, an analysis by The New York Times shows, nearly all the money went to pay the firms making the calls and the operatives themselves, highlighting a flaw in the regulation of political nonprofits.

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“Constructing an elaborate self-licking ice cream cone, or fund-raising cycle that feeds itself, that’s not an exempt purpose,” said Matthew Sanderson, a lawyer at the firm Caplin & Drysdale who has advised Republican campaigns, using the I.R.S.’s term for an allowable use of the groups’ money. “The fund-raising has to be for something.”

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