Fighting against money’s corrosive influence in politics

CREW uses a potent combination of aggressive legal action, in-depth research, and bold communications to advance its mission of reducing the influence of money in politics and helping to foster a government that is ethical and accountable. We use the law as a tool to highlight abuses, change behavior, and ensure accountability. In addition, we promote policies that encourage public officials to work in the public interest, not for the benefit of powerful interests.

Our Legal Work

Too many players in our political system see campaign finance as essentially a lawless area and operate as such, doing whatever is in their own interest or the interest of wealthy allies.  CREW works against this trend, using the law to create accountability, promote ethics, and restore order and fairness to our country’s out-of-control politics.

When we find potential violations of campaign finance, ethics, tax, or other rules, CREW files complaints asking appropriate government agencies to investigate. If those agencies don’t do their jobs, we file lawsuits to compel them to enforce the law and to bring about changes in how courts and agencies interpret the law. CREW also uses document requests, open records laws, and related lawsuits to uncover misconduct, highlight attempts by powerful interests to influence policy, and ensure openness and transparency. In addition to our longstanding federal work, CREW is increasingly using our legal expertise at the state level to expose abuses and compel positive change.

Our Policy Work

At CREW, we believe that government can and often does have a positive impact on the lives of Americans. We work to reduce the influence of powerful interests seeking to distort the system with money, so that government can more effectively work in the interest of the people.

CREW supports efforts to reform federal and state campaign finance systems so that the rules governing elections are strong, clear, and fairly enforced.  At the federal level, we support legislation, executive orders, and improved rules to ensure greater disclosure, restrict secret and unlimited contributions, and empower regular voters.  We also support initiatives from local citizens in cities and states around the country that would allow ordinary voters to have an equal say in the process and set an example for the rest of the country.

CREW supports strengthening federal corruption law and reforming federal lobbying rules to eliminate loopholes. We support strong, independent ethics bodies at all levels of government. CREW also works toward ensuring government transparency by supporting efforts to preserve and strengthen the Freedom of Information Act and backing other important transparency initiatives.

Our Research Work

CREW’s legal and policy work is grounded in aggressive, in-depth research that traces the flow of money in politics, identifies ethical and legal violations, and explains how special interests try to influence government outcomes. CREW doesn’t just seek to hold bad actors accountable. Our research team also works to illustrate how the system works in practice, providing a necessary knowledge base for building a better political system.

Our Communications Work

CREW’s communications staff works aggressively to bring national and local attention to the campaign finance and ethics abuses we uncover, to highlight the scope of the money in politics problem we face, and to build public support for needed reforms.  We translate the sometimes complicated legal, research, and policy work CREW does into clear, concise, easy-to-understand language that underscores the significance of the problems we illuminate. We collaborate with national and local reporters, serving as subject-matter experts in stories covering a range of issues including congressional ethics, campaign finance, and political corruption. We use social media, email, and blog posts, as well as more traditional media, to not only broadcast our work to reduce money’s stranglehold on politics, but also to champion what we’re doing to change things for the better—at times partnering with or supporting organizations with similar goals.