There are still unanswered questions about the politically active 501(c)(4) "social welfare" groups. The anonymously funded entities' multimillion-dollar ad budgets helped to clog the airwaves last year.
How much did they really spend to intervene in the 2012 campaign? What kinds of sources supplied their money? What ties do they maintain with other nonprofit organizations or for-profit companies?
The IRS is now trying to address some of the unknowns by asking organizations to fill out a questionnaire about their finances.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon and we'll have to wait until June to learn what the U.S. Supreme Court has decided on the two gay marriage cases before it. But this week, the justices heard oral arguments and they gave perhaps some hints of their thinking. One case concerns the constitutionality of California's ban on gay marriage, the other case is a challenge to what's called DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.
We're joined now by NPR legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg. Thanks for being with us.
The Environment Protection Agency has proposed new rules that will require cars to run on cleaner gas. The rules are intended to lower sulfur emission and reduce smog, and they'd go into effect in 2017. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports they're similar to standards in place in California.
Calling them "sensible standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses [and lead to] efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive," the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed national rules to reduce the amount of sulfur in gasoline.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Friday condemned the use of the term "wetbacks" by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, one of the party's most senior members of Congress.
Young's statement, his quick apology, and Boehner's statement that the remark was "beneath the dignity of the office he holds," come at a particularly sensitive time for the Republican Party in its relationship with Hispanic voters.
The Supreme Court heard arguments over same-sex marriage this week, and the Barbershop guys have their own arguments to offer. Guest host Celeste Headlee checks in with culture critic Jimi Izrael, sports writer Pablo Torre, Kai Wright of Colorlines.com, and Republican strategist R. Clarke Cooper.
As Democrats belatedly line up behind marriage equality and Republicans see it as a losing cause for them, all that's left is what the Supreme Court decides. And as Mayor Bloomberg unleashes a $12 million campaign to sway senators on guns, public opinion polls show the issue has less urgency than it had right after Sandy Hook. Plus: South Dakota's Tim Johnson retires and Ashley Judd won't run in Kentucky.
There were dozens of rallies across the nation yesterday, to support a cause that might be losing steam. It's the fight for new gun control laws. President Obama joined family members of recent gun victims at the White House to urge Congress to take action.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Right now, members of Congress are back home in their districts and many of them are holding events where they can hear from their constituents, so I want everybody who's listening to make yourself heard right now.
Now and then, an issue before the U.S. Supreme Court changes the course of the nation's political history — whether the justices like it or not.
It's happening again with gay marriage. This week the court heard oral arguments in two key cases. One could restore legal same-sex marriage in California; the other could end discrimination against gay married couples in the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs.