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Inside Politics

- - Wednesday, June 8, 2011

IRS

Tax-exempt status removed for groups

The IRS says that 275,000 organizations have automatically lost their tax-exempt status because they failed to file required annual reports over the past three years.

The tax agency believes most of those being stripped of tax-exempt status are now defunct. But it also announced procedures for still-functioning organizations that seek to be reinstated.

A 2006 law requires most tax-exempt organizations to file an annual information return with the IRS. It automatically revokes the status for organizations that fail to file the required papers for three consecutive years.

The IRS says in 2010 there were nearly 2 million tax-exempt organizations, of which about 1.3 million are religious and charitable groups. The list also includes social welfare groups, labor and agriculture organizations, business leagues, and war veterans organizations.

ELECTION

Tea partyers disagree over 2012 strategy

The co-founders of one of the largest tea party groups in the nation dismissed a recent claim by a former leader of the group that members of the grass-roots movement will rally behind whoever wins the Republican nomination — "even if that person is former Gov. Mitt Romney."

Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler, leaders of Tea Party Patriots, pushed back against Tea Party Express leader Amy Kremer for suggesting to Fox News over the weekend that the movement will support whichever Republican goes up against President Obama.

"A pledge of allegiance to the Republican Party, or any other party, violates what the tea party movement is all about and is completely out of touch with grass-roots Americans," Ms. Martin said in an email. "The tea party movement grew out of disillusionment with both political parties who have rejected the principles of fiscal responsibility, limited constitutional government and the free market. We are independent and will remain so."

Mr. Meckler said that "we've heard little support for Romney in the movement as we interact daily with local coordinators and activists."

CALIFORNIA

Filner getting set for mayoral race

SAN DIEGO — Rep. Bob Filner of California is taking a big step toward running for mayor of San Diego.

The Democrat's campaign office said he plans to file papers with the city clerk Wednesday to allow him to begin raising money for the race.

A local television station, KGTV, reported that Mr. Filner had recently moved from Chula Vista to San Diego.

The Democrat was first elected to represent the state's 51st Congressional District in 1992. Before entering Congress, he served on the San Diego City Council and as deputy mayor.

Mr. Filner was chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee before the GOP gained control of the House.

If he runs, Mr. Filner would join an increasingly crowded field of candidates. Also running for the top post of the state's second largest city are San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis, Councilman Carl DeMaio and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher — all of whom are hoping to become the Republican front-runner.

Term limits prevent current Mayor Jerry Sanders from running for re-election. He is endorsing Ms. Dumanis.

NEW JERSEY

Lewis easily wins Democratic primary

TRENTON — Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis has won an uncontested Democratic primary in a New Jersey state Senate race.

He still has legal hurdles ahead before he can appear on the general election ballot in November against incumbent Republican state Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego.

A judge may still keep him off the general election ballot. Republicans say he doesn't meet New Jersey's four-year residency requirement.

A federal court ruled he should stay on the primary ballot while the dispute is being sorted out.

The 49-year-old track-and-field star grew up in Willingboro and has spent much of his adult life in California.

He's owned homes in New Jersey since 2005 but continued to vote in California until he registered in New Jersey in April.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama still considering tapping petroleum bank

The White House says President Obama is keeping open the option of tapping the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve if necessary.

Obama spokesman Jay Carney says no decision on whether to open the reserve has been made. Mr. Obama said earlier this year that a plan to open the reserve is ready and could happen quickly if he called for it.

The White House says the reserve is designed to deal with disruptions, not short-term fluctuations.

Conflict in Libya has accounted for the daily loss of 1.6 million barrels of oil from the market. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries unexpectedly decided Wednesday to leave its production levels unchanged, causing oil prices to jump.

 

TEXAS

Giffords turns 41, gets framed cartoon

HOUSTON — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords turned 41 Wednesday, five months to the day after she was shot in the head in a shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six people.

Giffords spokesman C.J. Karamargin says the Arizona lawmaker's staff sang her "Happy Birthday" over the phone and sent her a framed cartoon that shows her and astronaut husband Mark Kelly in space.

The drawing, by syndicated Omaha cartoonist Jeff Koterba, was published in April, and shows Mr. Kelly and Ms. Giffords holding hands, wearing space suits.

The cartoon reads: "Mark Kelly, Endeavor. Gabrielle Giffords, courage."

Mr. Kelly returned June 1 to Earth on Space Shuttle Endeavor after about two weeks in space in NASA's second-to-last shuttle mission.

From wire dispatches and staff reports