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January 09, 2015

IRS Says New 'Dark Money' Rules Still Months Away

The Internal Revenue Service is unlikely to propose new regulations on political activity by nonprofit groups before late spring, decreasing the chance that any changes will affect the 2016 elections, ProPublica reports.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in June that the agency would propose new rules in early 2015, but IRS spokeswoman Julianne Breitbeil now says the process will take longer. Given a public comment period, time for revisions, and probable opposition in the Republican-led Congress, some experts on nonprofit tax law said it would difficult for regulations proposed in late spring to be in place for next year's campaign.

The IRS proposed restrictions on nonprofit politicking in late 2013 but withdrew them last spring in the face of intense criticism from both right and left. According to watchdog groups, 501(c)(4) "social welfare" groups have become a major electoral force, putting at least $257-million into the 2012 campaign and accounting for nearly half of TV spending on 2014 Senate races.