Matea Gold for WaPo:
These tax-exempt groups — which can keep their donors secret even as they sponsor hard-hitting ads — are being increasingly embraced by campaign operatives looking for new ways to influence the political environment.
While such “social welfare” organizations are not supposed to be primarily focused on elections, they face little oversight from a deadlocked Federal Election Commission or the Internal Revenue Service, whose effort to issue new rules governing their political activity has stalled.In the absence of such scrutiny, political nonprofits are poised to take on their biggest role yet in the coming federal elections. The Republican opposition group America Rising announced Tuesday that it has launched a new nonprofit called AR2, which will focus on researching liberal groups and policies, along with a state-based affiliate in Missouri. Supporters of Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) announced a new Senate-focused nonprofit this week called Our Next America.
And eight Republican White House hopefuls already have aligned tax-exempt organizations, set up under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code.