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How Nonprofits Spend Millions on Elections and Call it Public Welfare

by Kim Barker, Pro Publica:

Matt Brooks describes the mission of the Republican Jewish Coalition as educating the Jewish community about critical domestic and foreign policy issues.

But the well-dressed crowd that gathered in May for a luncheon on the 24th floor of a New York law firm easily could have figured that the group had a different purpose: Helping Mitt Romney win the presidency.

Brooks, the group’s executive director, showed the 100 or so attendees two coalition-funded ads [2] taking aim [3] at President Barack Obama. Then Brooks made a pitch for a $6.5 million plan to help Romney in battleground states, reminding guests that their donations would not be publicly disclosed by the tax-exempt group.

“Contributions to the RJC are not reported,” Brooks told the people sitting around a horseshoe-shaped table. “We don’t make our donors’ names available. We can take corporate money, personal money, cash, shekels, whatever you got.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition and similar organizations enjoy tax-exempt status in exchange for promoting social welfare. In this election, the most expensive in U.S. history, they also have emerged as the primary conduit for anonymous big-money contributions.

Read More @ ProPublica.org

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