On the Last Word last night with Lawrence O'Donnell, Rep Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) announced his intent to sue the Treasury Dept over how the IRS interprets the law regarding 501(c)(4)s.
O'Donnell has been harping on how the real scandal involving the IRS is not, as we all know, the IRS targeting conservative groups. O'Donnell, who is a former congressional staffer, says that the original law, as penned by Congress, states that a 501(c)(4) must be exclusively focused on social goodness. Since 1959, through some unknown mutation, the IRS guidelines say that, in order to qualify as a 501(c)(4), an organization must be primarily focused on social aspects. The interpretation forces IRS agents to examine candidate 501s in detail, making the whole
process a lot more onerous than necessary. (Is it 51 social vice 49 political, or vice-versa?)
In an interview with Van Hollen, Van Hollen said he was going to file suit against the Treasury Department to force the IRS to follow Congress' original intent. A lawyer (didn't catch the name) that O'Donnell subsequently interviewed said that it was his opinion that Van Hollen had a reasonable chance to succeed.
One key difference between a 501(c)(4) and a 527 is that contributors to a 501(c)(4) can remain anonymous. Not so with a 527.