FEC Demands Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS Disclose Donors
The Federal Election Committee is demanding that Karl Rove’s right wing non-profit Crossroads GPS reveal its secret donors.
But it’s not going to happen.
On its face, the letters amount to an incendiary request. Crossroads GPS, along with an array of other non-profit 501(c)4 groups, were a major force during the 2010 elections in part because of their ability to keep donors secret. The groups, most of which backed conservatives, were highly controversial for Democrats, and President Obama frequently criticized them while campaigning. But Democrats have subsequently created their own counterpart organizations for next year’s campaign.
A Crossroads spokesman and campaign-finance watchdogs alike agree that the FEC request is easily sidestepped. It applies only to contributions that were specifically earmarked for independent expenditures. Donations to Crossroads, group spokesman Jonathan Collegio told National Journal, were never earmarked that way.
“This is a routine request for additional information by the FEC’s Reports Analysis Division,” he said. “Crossroads GPS will provide an adequate response in the appropriate time, saying essentially that its reports were full and complete, and that there are no donors to report because no contributions were earmarked for any particular electioneering communication or independent expenditure.”
His assessment was shared by Paul Ryan, an attorney for the Campaign Legal Center, a group that aims to reduce the influence of money in politics. Nearly all the money Crossroads collects is funneled toward political advertisements, Ryan said, but the group isn’t required to disclose donors unless they specifically earmark their donation for the political ads, making disclosure easily avoidable.
The fact Crossroads can easily fend off the FEC’s request is a testament to just how broken campaign-finance laws are, Ryan added. “What you’re looking at is a perfect illustration of how disclosure laws aren’t working today,” he said.