Watchdogs Sue FEC, Demand Renewed Probe Of Rove Group
The Federal Elections Commission is proving to be a de facto obstructor rather than an enforcer of campaign finance law and regulations. Clean election advocates have had enough of the FEC’s “hands-off” policy towards Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and have taken action in court:
Watchdog groups are suing the Federal Election Committee after it dropped its inquiry into Crossroads GPS, the nonprofit organization co-founded by GOP operative Karl Rove.
The Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen filed a complaint in 2010 that said the group flouted election laws by filing as a social welfare nonprofit while acting like a political committee.
Crossroads GPS, which raised and spent more than $64.7 million from mid-2010 through 2011, maintains that because the majority of its money is not expressly advocated for or against any candidate in an election, its activities are within the law.
The FEC decided not to pursue the watchdogs’ complaint after deadlocking in a 3-3, party line vote.
Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen, said in a statement Thursday that the three Republican members of the commission had a “tortured and obstructionist” strategy and “refused to follow the FEC’s own policies in determining political committee status.”
The new suit points to a report released on Friday by professional staff at the election regulator, which built a case for why there is “reason to believe” Crossroads GPS violated the law and recommended that the FEC begin an investigation.
“The nonpartisan General Counsel’s office recognized Crossroad GPS’s failure to register as a political committee as a clear-cut violation of the law and strongly recommended a full investigation but once again the Republican Commissioners blocked enforcement of the laws on the books,” said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, in a statement.