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Influence

The Secret Money Behind the Health Care Challenge

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On Monday, Carol Paris of Leonardtown, Md. demonstrates outside the Supreme Court in Washington. On Thursday the Supreme Court will deliver their ruling on President Barack Obama's health care package.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Challenging a major health care law ain't cheap, and the group behind the Supreme Court case has deep pockets, indeed. But where does the money come from?

That's what Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, wants to know. In a letter to Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman, Grijavla writes that his staff has found major donations have been made to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the nonprofit that is at the center of the Supreme Court case that may be decided later this week.

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NFIB, which proclaims itself to be "the voice of small business," received a $3.7 million grant in 2010 from Crossroads GPS, a Republican super PAC with ties to Karl Rove. But the organization also received a $1.65 million donation in 2011 from an undisclosed individual or group, according to an IRS filing form. And Grijalva writes that a staff review found two other seven-figure donations to NFIB's Small Business Legal Center made since 2010.

At the same time, NFIB was spending money on fighting the health care law, paying $1.8 million to hire on Baker & Hostetler, Jones Day, Randy E. Barnett and Creative Response Concepts, according to the letter.

"These combined expenses of more than $1.8 million for legal and public relations work represent a major expansion of the Center's mission and were funded by a few high-dollar donations, not by a spontaneous outpouring of member-driven contributions," Grijalva claims.

Grijalva previously wrote to NFIB, asking the group to release donor and member information since 2009. And what was the response? Grijalva writes that NFIB "elected to inform us through a quote in the Daily Caller that it had no intention of revealing who is paying for that lawsuit, nor would it answer any of our questions about its funding sources." 

Ouch.

Under current IRS rules, NFIB doesn't have to divulge the source of its money since it's a nonprofit group.

Photo: On Monday, Carol Paris of Leonardtown, Md., demonstrates outside the Supreme Court. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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