Watchdogs: End campaign groups' tax-exempt status

By JACK GILLUM | September 28, 2011 | 11:15 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two campaign-finance watchdog groups say a handful of organizations engage in so much campaign activity that they shouldn't be given tax-exempt status.

In a complaint to the IRS on Wednesday, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center called for an investigation of the groups, including major players like GOP-aligned Crossroads GPS and Democratic-tilting Priorities USA Action.

Democracy 21 president Fred Wertheimer says such groups are abusing the tax laws to help elect candidates.

The two watchdog groups asked the IRS in July to limit how much so-called social-welfare organizations could spend on campaign activities. A 2010 Supreme Court ruling opened the door for unlimited money from outside groups in elections.