The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) on Tuesday filed a complaint with the IRS, asking the agency to investigate a Koch Brothers-linked dark money giant.
In a complaint addressed to Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel, CREW asked the IRS to look into whether the activities of the group, named Freedom Partners, “serve and promote the commercial and industrial interests of its members,” as required by section 501(c)6 of the Internal Revenue Code. CREW also accused the group of failing to disclose complete copies of a 2011 tax form requested by CREW.
Freedom Partners was formed in 2011 as a 501(c)6 chamber of commerce, and earlier was revealed as the secret source of almost a quarter of a billion dollars received by conservative groups in 2012.
Also on Tuesday, CREW asked the IRS to clarify rules governing 501(c)6 groups, which, it argued in a press release, “increasingly are serving as vehicles for wealthy groups and individuals to funnel anonymous or ‘dark’ money to other tax-exempt organizations to influence elections.”
“If there’s a loophole in the tax code, it’s a sure thing that someone will take advantage of it,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement. “If the IRS fails to act, Americans should expect to see an increase in the number of so-called ‘business leagues’ created to funnel money into our elections while cloaking the identities of their donors.”