The 2010 elections are history, but the legacy of Citizens United lives on.
The non-profit watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tuesday to investigate whether a group run by former Minnesota U.S. Senator Norm Coleman violated tax laws in the run-up to the midterm elections.
CREW claims that Coleman’s American Action Network (AAN) engaged in political campaign activity as its primary purpose, contrary to IRS rules for a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization.
AAN spokesman Jim Landry called CREW’s claim “a baseless complaint from a partisan group with a record of filing baseless complaints.”
The dispute stems from the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which led AAN and other outside groups to spend nearly $300 million in the national elections that resulted in a GOP takeover in the U.S. House.
Democrats from President Obama on down have taken umbrage at the Citizens United decision, which loosened federal restrictions on electioneering by unions and corporate interests, inspiring groups like AAN to raise unlimited amounts of money without having to disclose their donors.
Even so, tax-exempt advocacy groups like AAN are not supposed to devote the majority of their resources to campaign activity, a restriction CREW claims is largely ignored on both sides of the political spectrum.
“The American Action Network and Sen. Coleman have every right to work to elect more Republicans, but they can’t violate the tax laws to do it,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.
CREW, citing Federal Election Commission reports, says AAN spent at least $18 million on political activities in 2010.
A spokesman for the IRS said the government could not comment on CREW’s request for review.
From Around the Web
More from Star Tribune
More from Hot Dish Politics
Earlier this month Franken and other senators sent a letter to PayPal about the company's robocall policy. PayPal will change the policy as a result.
Gov. Mark Dayton told reporters Monday that he planned to reinstate pay raises to his commissioners, but they "won't be the maximum in most cases."
Obama to travel to La Crosse, Wisconsin this week for economy event
The two biggest state government unions reached tentative contract agreements with the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton, giving raises to more than 30,000 state workers of 2.5 percent in July 2015 and another 2.5 percent in 2016.
Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, who is chairman of the “End Revenge Porn Working Group,” said the situation is far more common than many people realize. Both he and Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley, also on the panel, said they had heard from constituents seeking legal relief, but as of now the remedies in Minnesota are imperfect at best.