The state GOP claims the groups are violating tax laws in the name of tearing down Republican candidates.
The fight has been brewing since January when Republicans maneuvered in the middle of the night to override a veto by Gov. Bev Perdue.
Liberals were seething. Five activist groups launched the website Out of Control to rail against what it called "an extreme right wing agenda ruining North Carolina."
"They are systematically targeting Republican candidates for office," said Republican attorney Kieren Shanahan.
Republicans are now accusing the liberal groups of breaking the law. They said they are violating the rules of tax-exempt organizations by using the Out of Control website and a statewide tour with the same name as electioneering tools.
"The only thing out of control in North Carolina politics are radically liberal non-profit groups operating illegally in a political manner," said NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes.
"They're trying to file a complaint with the IRS in hopes that people will be intimidated," said Gerrick Brenner, with Progress NC.
Progress NC is one of the five groups named in the IRS complaints. Brenner said Republicans are trying to bully Liberals into silence.
"This was all about educating the public about many of the issues and bad things going on at the General Assembly," said Brenner. "This wasn't electioneering."
Brenner said the groups never told people who to vote and who not to vote for, and that the website in question hasn't been updated since April.