This should be fun. Even if they get to give the cash, they may not get to keep it a secret anymore:
WASHINGTON — For years, the IRS has done little or nothing to check the rise of overtly political groups that claim a special tax-exempt status in order to funnel secret money into election-related advertising.
But in a sign that the agency may be waking from its slumber, the IRS has sent detailed questionnaires to several Tea Party organizations — and possibly other political groups — to determine if they truly qualify for the 501(c)(4) designation intended for groups whose exclusive purpose is to promote social welfare.
Should any group currently calling itself a 501(c)(4) have its designation denied or revoked, tax experts said the consequences could be severe, including fines of 35 percent or more of the money they raised in secret.
And the groups might have to make donors’ names public.
Even loose talk about donor secrecy no longer being guaranteed could put a screaming halt to the extraordinary flow of money into these groups from deep-pocketed people and corporations that want to buy political ads without leaving fingerprints.
“If I thought it was important to remain anonymous for my business reasons or for my personal reasons, I wouldn’t take any comfort in any assurances the organization has given me until now,” said Karl Sandstrom, a former Federal Election Commission member who now works at the Washington office of law firm of Perkins Coie.