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IRS steps up scrutiny of tax-exempt political groups

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is signaling that it will increase its scrutiny of tax-exempt political organizations, which are becoming a force in elections by raising tens of millions of dollars from undisclosed donors.

The IRS has been corresponding with such groups and is preparing questions to ask them as part of effort to determine whether their fundraising or advertising work runs afoul of tax law. IRS spokesman Terry Lemons said on Thursday the scrutiny will affect a range of tax-exempt groups.

The move comes as such tax-exempt groups – many of which have better-known sister organizations known as “Super PACs,” or political action committees – are under criticism from Democrats and some Republicans for using money from anonymous sources to try to influence elections.

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