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States taking a look at 527 groups

Stateline.org reports: State and federal regulators are cracking down on nonprofit political groups, so-called 527s, suspected of circumventing state campaign finance laws.

According to the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan political watchdog group, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), which backs state-level GOP candidates, is drawing scrutiny for its role in the 2004 Pennsylvania attorney general’s race. The RSLC also has been fined $20,000 in Louisiana and $10,000 in North Carolina, according to the Center.

In a new report, it said Minnesota regulators had levied a record $400,000 penalty against a Democratic political organization that failed to file proper state disclosure forms. And an Arizona nonprofit agreed to disband this year after a nearly year-long battle with state campaign finance officials who fined the group $5,000, the Center said.

It said an audit by the Internal Revenue Service estimates that more than 30 percent of such groups are improperly registered as nonprofit organizations. The IRS is planning to investigate all similar state-level political groups, which are exempt from federal limits on campaign contributions and spending, and make sure they are following state limits. -- 527s under scrutiny from states

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