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Campaign Legal Center Files Complaint Against Bipartisan Set of 23 Super PACs

Super PACs tied to Democratic and Republican parties mislead voters while spending millions to influence their votes.
WASHINGTON -

A Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against 23 super PACs that had worked to illegally conceal their affiliation - denying voters the right to know who is spending big money to influence their vote.

Established, D.C-based super PACs tied to the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties are among the 23 groups listed in the complaint, as are a number of so-called “pop-up super PACs” that existed solely to influence one congressional race.

Between 2017 and 2020, 18 of these super PACs falsely presented themselves to voters as independent groups, with most utilizing names that suggested ties to the given state or region in which they were trying to influence voters. Wealthy special interests often run election ads that are deliberately misleading. Voters need to know who is funding these ads so they can weigh their credibility and cast an informed vote.

What these groups illegally concealed from voters was their affiliation with established national super PACs tied to Congressional leadership. Combined, these 18 groups spent more than $200 million attempting to influence voters in competitive federal elections across the country, with nearly all of that funding coming from the 5 national groups.

"Senior leaders of both parties have been steering money from wealthy special interests to front groups specifically designed to trick voters," said Adav Noti, Senior Director of Trial Litigation and Chief of Staff at CLC Action, and former Associate General Counsel of the FEC. "Voters have a right to know when big money is flowing into their elections from D.C.-based groups hiding their agendas and funding behind fake names. The vast scope of this illegal concealment should prompt swift investigation and a firm crackdown by the FEC."

The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) requires that political committees publicly disclose “the name, address, relationship, and type of any connected organization or affiliated committee” within 10 days of becoming a political committee. The fact that these 18 “pop-up super PACs” received most or all of their funding from these established D.C-based groups clearly demonstrates such affiliation.

The FEC, which is the only government agency whose sole responsibility is overseeing the integrity of our political campaigns, must hold these groups accountable for concealing this important information from American voters. We need real transparency about who is spending big money on elections.

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Campaign Legal Center (CLC) advances democracy through law, fighting for every American’s right to participate in the democratic process. CLC uses tactics such as litigation, policy advocacy, communications and partnerships to win victories that result in a more transparent, accountable and inclusive democracy.

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