Karl Rove. (AP/Matt York)

It's something of an open secret in Washington that many of the organizations that maintain their tax-exempt status by promising to do nothing more than nonpartisan "issue-based advocacy" or "social welfare promotion" actually devote themselves entirely to trying to swing elections and influence legislation. Still, let us not lose the capacity to be amazed:

In a confidential 2010 filing, Crossroads GPS — the dark money group that spent more than $70 million from anonymous donors on the 2012 election — told the Internal Revenue Service that its efforts would focus on public education, research and shaping legislation and policy.

The group's application for recognition as a social welfare nonprofit acknowledged that it would spend money to influence elections, but said "any such activity will be limited in amount, and will not constitute the organization's primary purpose."