A 501(c)(4) "social welfare" organization formed last year by supporters of Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential bid said it has raised $15.8 million to date and will spend $20 million or more on issue advertising, reports The New York Times. The Conservative Solutions Project says it is not devoted to a particular candidate, but it shares a name and some staff with a super PAC backing the Florida Republican, and its initial run of television and radio spots focused on Rubio's opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran.
The numbers, announced by the organization Monday, suggest Mr. Rubio is the greatest beneficiary to date of a major expansion in presidential politicking by nonprofits. Such groups, which are not required to identify their donors, are carrying out activities previously associated with PACs and formal campaign operations, the Times writes. The Internal Revenue Service has signaled that it will not try to tighten rules on political work by tax-exempt groups until after the 2016 race.
In a Bloomberg View column, Harvard University law professor Noah Feldman discusses the legal background for how 501(c)(4)s have become major campaign actors despite regulations ostensibly limiting their ability to engage in electoral politics.