An advocacy group and a former congressional candidate have filed suit against the Internal Revenue Service in an effort to force the IRS to enforce its laws prohibiting tax-exempt 501(c)4 groups from engaging in political activity.

The group, known as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, joined with David Gill, an emergency room physician in Bloomington, Ill., who unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat for Congress last year, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the IRS. They argued that 501(c)4 organizations, which are supposed to be used for social welfare purposes, are instead flouting a federal law barring them from engaging in political activity, especially after the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, which opened the door to nearly unlimited campaign spending. The lawsuit charges that the IRS is not taking action against such groups.

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