Update: CREW has appealed the FEC’s determination with respect to the FOIA request below. Click here to read the appeal.
February 6, 2020
CREW has requested records from the Federal Election Commission identifying contributors, dates, and amounts of contributions to the Commission on Hope, Growth, and Opportunity (CHGO).
CHGO was a secretive dark money group that ran numerous political ads during the 2010 election cycle. 501(c)(4) organizations are subject to strict limits on their involvement in electoral politics, and yet CHGO funneled millions in dark money into supporting the campaigns of candidates like Mick Mulvaney, who was then running for Congress in South Carolina. The group never disclosed information on its financial supporters despite its extensive involvement in federal campaign activity.
CREW first filed IRS and FEC complaints against CHGO for its political activity and violations of campaign finance rules in 2011. The FEC general counsel investigated and agreed that the group was not acting in accordance with campaign finance laws, recommending that the FEC find CHGO had failed to register as a political committee. The FEC deadlocked on whether to pursue enforcement, ultimately taking no action at all.
Now, CREW is seeking contribution information through these requested records, which will help illuminate the FEC’s decision making process in declining enforcement. The influence of dark money in politics remains far too strong, and further insight into the operations of the FEC in regulating this dark money group is long overdue.
Read the request here.