From Open Secrets:
As “dark money” groups continue to devise new strategies to maximize their role in electoral politics, watchdog organizations may likewise begin exploring new measures to challenge what they see as a pattern that amounts to “the political equivalent of a hit and run.”
Last week, the Washington-based, Democratic-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a criminal complaint with the Justice Department alleging that key operatives of a conservative dark money group, the optimistically-named Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity, lied to federal investigators about their involvement with the group when it spent millions of dollars on TV ads in 2010. CREW’s press release announcing the complaint said that allowing organizations such as CHGO to go without reprimand will “merely create a roadmap for other groups.”
According to CREW, groups can simply follow these directions to evade any action by the Federal Election Commission:
Take millions of dollars in contributions; Spend millions on campaign ads; File no reports with the FEC; Shut down “at the first sign of investigation.”
Another group, Carolina Rising — like CHGO, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that can receive unlimited donations without revealing its donors — seems to have followed this roadmap almost to a tee.
Carolina Rising was a key player in the heated 2014 race between state legislator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and then-Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), which attracted an unprecedented amount of outside spending by PACs and politically active nonprofits. A single donor — Crossroads GPS, the brainchild of veteran Republican strategists Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie and one…