Dems' Dark Money

Top Liberal Group Spent Big In '12

The League of Conservation Voters, a tax exempt 501(c)4 spent nearly $15 million on the 2012 election.

Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg-Getty Images

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) spent more money than any other liberal nonprofit in 2012 election cycle according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In fact, according to a tax document obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics and provided to The Daily Beast, the group, which is a tax exempt 501(c)4 and not required to disclose donors, spent nearly $15 million on “direct and indirect political activities” in 2012. 501(c)4s are able to maintain their tax exemption as a “social welfare organization” provided they spend less than half of their money on political activity. Overall, the group took in nearly $37 million in 2012, after raising only $11 million the year before, and spent about $35.7 million in total.

LCV described its goal in a filing to the IRS and stated “As part of its efforts to secure sound environmental policies and help secure the environmental future of the planet, the League of Conservation Voters seeks to elect pro-environmental candidates supportive of such policies and defeat those who stand in the way of them; these efforts are conducted through communications to the public including mail, email, phone, door-to-door and advertisements.”

In a statement to the Daily Beast, Jeff Gohringer, the LCV’s press secretary, said “We’re very proud of the money that we spent last year. We built on our long history of advocating for environment policies and holding lawmakers of both parties accountable. LCV has been around for more than 40 years and works closely with more than 30 state partners to pass environment laws at state and local levels and our funding comes from more than half a million supporters across the country.”