Blog — Campaign Finance Reform
If you’ve been following CREW’s work over the last year, then you already know we’ve been vigilant about holding shadowy dark money groups accountable. Recent news reports, however, have shined a spotlight on blatantly illegal behavior by one group working overtime to undermine laws aimed at keeping big money out of politics.
The group, American Tradition Partnership (ATP) – formerly named Western Tradition Partnership – appears to have lied to the IRS when it applied for non-profit, tax-exempt status by claiming it would not try to influence elections. In fact, a Montana agency that monitors campaign practices found ATP’s purpose is “to directly influence candidate elections through surreptitious means.” The U.S. Justice Department must investigate whether ATP broke the law by lying to the IRS.
ATP may best be remembered as the group that sued the state of Montana to kill the state’s century-old Corrupt Practices Act, which barred corporate spending on elections there, extending the twisted logic of the disastrous Citizens United case to invalidate Montana’s law. Montana bravely fought back, but the Supreme Court sided with ATP, and refused even to hear the state’s arguments before throwing out its law.
Now, there is even more to the story.
Last night, Marketplace and Frontline reported on documents found in a meth house (yes, you read that right) suggesting that ATP broke another law by illegally coordinating its work with various candidates’ campaigns for public office.
It’s increasingly clear that ATP has been operating with no regard for campaign finance and tax laws, even as it exploits a law allowing it to keep its donors’ identities secret.
We can’t let ATP get away with this rampant corruption. We hope you’ll help us fight back.
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