More trouble for the IRS: The same office that singled out conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status also leaked confidential information about conservative groups last year, ProPublica reports. How does ProPublica know? Well, because the nine pending applications were leaked to ProPublica in the first place. The investigative site had asked to see the applications for 67 nonprofits and the IRS' Cincinnati office sent over 31, nine of which had not been approved yet, meaning they were supposed to be confidential.
ProPublica was interested in the applications because it was revealing how social-welfare nonprofits, which don't have to identify their donors and can spend money on elections as long as social welfare is their primary goal, misled the IRS when applying for tax-exempt status. Among the applications released to ProPublica: Karl Rove's Crossroads group, which had promised to spend only "limited" money on 2012 elections and ended up spending more than $70 million. Also included were five other groups that all claimed they would not spend any money to sway the elections and spent more than $5 million. ProPublica reported on all six (here and here). Interestingly, the New York Times reported today that Crossroads and other larger groups were not subjected to the same intense scrutiny the IRS applied to small Tea Party groups; click for more on that. (Read more Internal Revenue Service stories.)