For Immediate Release

CREW Statement on DC Circuit Court Decision to Allow Dark Money

WASHINGTON - Today the D.C. Circuit Court issued a wrong-headed decision in what is becoming a long litany of flawed court opinions that ignore legislative intent and keep voters in the dark.  The three-judge panel overturned a lower federal court’s ruling in Van Hollen v. Federal Election Commission, which ruled that the FEC improperly narrowed the scope of McCain-Feingold’s donor disclosure requirements.

The FEC’s narrow interpretation allows nonprofit 501(c)(4) organizations like Crossroads GPS and 501(c)(6) associations like the Chamber of Commerce to spend millions of dollars on electioneering communications without disclosing their donors.  As a result of today’s ruling, the FEC’s badly flawed regulation likely will be reinstated. 

“Today’s decision by the D.C. Circuit Court overturned one of the few glimmers of hope in campaign finance disclosure law,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.  “Voters are being pummeled by campaign ads with no way to discover who is really trying to influence our elections.”

Given the feckless nature of the FEC, CREW is highly skeptical that the agency will revise the regulations in any meaningful way to provide voters with the disclosure they deserve.  It’s clear the public will remain in the dark about who is financing our federal elections until many more members of Congress come to their senses and pass reasonable legislation like the DISCLOSE Act that would provide the kind of constitutional disclosure the Supreme Court suggested in Citizens United.

Read more about CREW's actions on dark money:

Dark Money: Keeping an eye on 501(c) groups

End Secret Spending by Tax-Exempt Groups

DISCLOSE Act: Yet Again, No Profiles in Courage in the U.S. Senate


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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.

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