ProPublica reports today that two national watchdog groups have sent a letter to the IRS requesting it scrutinize an application for nonprofit status from Crossroads GPS, the Karl Rove-founded dark money group that spent at least $3.1 million on attack ads against Sen. Jon Tester in 2012. The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, both based in Washington, D.C., filed the request alleging Crossroads' claims that its campaign activities would be limited "are simply not credible." Crossroads disclosed more than $70 million to the Federal Election Commission in 2012 for ads expressly supporting or opposing candidates; the group, like many others active in the 2012 election, managed to veil its donors behind the curtain of 501(c)(4) status. The same goes for additional millions spent by Crossroads on "issue advocacy" ads.
The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 are asking the IRS to review Crossroads' 2010 request for nonprofit status in light of its activities in 2012, claiming an "abuse of tax laws" and stating Crossroads "has no business being treated as a 'social welfare' organization." In the meantime, Crossroads debuted a series of radio ads in December targeting five Democratic senators over the "fiscal cliff" negotiations. Four of the five senators mentioned in those ads are listed among the top ten most vulnerable in 2014.