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November 25, 2014

Ethics Group Seeks IRS Inquiry Into Pro-McConnell Ky. Nonprofit

A political-finance watchdog group is calling on the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a conservative Kentucky nonprofit that spent millions of dollars from undisclosed donors on advertisements boosting Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election bid, the Center for Public Integrity writes. The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition "makes a mockery of a [tax] law that is supposed to promote social good, not get a particular politician re-elected," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The coalition was launched in 2008 as a 501(c)(4) social-welfare organization but remained inactive for several years, ending 2012 with $904 in assets, according to tax records. In 2013, it raised $5.9-million, and Scott Jennings, a former McConnell aide who serves as the group's spokesman, has said it spent more than $14-million on advertisements ahead of the November 4 midterm elections.

Under IRS rules, 501(c)(4) nonprofits may not engage in politics as their primary activity. Mr. Jennings told the Center for Public Integrity last month that the Kentucky coalition "abides by all rules and regulations governing an organization of its kind."