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Money swirling into a black hole
The shadowy world of unlimited, undisclosed corporate financing of campaigns might become a tad less murky if New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is successful in his efforts. Schneiderman has opened an investigation into dozens of Super PACs, requesting tax and other financial information from these groups that are obstensibly as tax-exempt "social welfare" organizations.
Close to two dozen such groups have already received Mr. Schneiderman’s requests, including three major Republican-affiliated groups, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, co-founded by the political strategist Karl Rove; American Action Network; and American Future Fund. The office has also requested information from Democratic groups, including Priorities USA Action, which was founded by two former aides to President Obama; Patriot Majority USA; and America Votes.
Scheiderman has broad jurisdiction in this because under New York law, all tax-exempt groups that do business or do substantial fundraising in the state are required to file auditors' reports and federal tax returns with his office. Many of Super PAC funders and donors are in New York, giving Schneiderman all the authority he needs to investigate. The Times reports that "people with knowledge of the inquiry" say that the letters have gone to groups which have not filed the required documents.

Schneider's inquiry might not be able to go so far as to expose things like the supposedly totally illegal collaboration between Rove and the Romney campaign, but it will at least shed a bit of light on where all the money pouring into these Super PACs is coming from. If the groups refuse to comply, the letter Schneiderman sent to them reminds them, he can subpoena the records. Documentation he compiles could eventually help broader, federal investigations into whether these groups are breaking the law.

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