Four dark money groups appear to have violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by illegally making politics their primary focus while failing to disclose their donors, and participating in a conduit contribution scheme, so CREW filed three complaints against the groups with the Federal Election Commission. Together, the groups are responsible for millions spent to influence elections in states including Ohio, Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina.
Two 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, Citizens for a Working America Inc. and the Jobs and Progress Fund, failed to register with the FEC as political committees despite spending the majority of their funds on political activity by routing funds to super PACs. A third (c)(4), the Government Integrity Fund, acted as a conduit for donations to American Jobs and Growth PAC, a super PAC. FECA prohibits making and knowingly accepting contributions in the name of another person, as well as allowing one’s name to be used to effect a contribution in the name of another person.
“When nonprofits and super PACs hide their political activity and funding, they leave the public in the dark about who is influencing their elections,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “The FEC must investigate whether these groups broke the law and hold them accountable.”
This is not the first time CREW has raised questions about whether these groups are violating federal law. CREW previously filed IRS complaints against two of the nonprofits, the Jobs and Progress Fund and the Government Integrity Fund, over their political spending during the 2014 election cycle. CREW’s complaints and lawsuits also resulted in dark money group Americans for Job Security being ordered to register as a political committee and release their donors last year — the first major release of dark money sources in the post-Citizens United era.
“For too long, this network has been allowed to exist in the shadows and influence elections across the country behind the scenes,” said Bookbinder. “The American people need to know whose money is infiltrating politics so people can make better decisions to make government work for them.”