May 5, 2011- Campaign Accountability Watch, a coalition of dozens of smaller liberal groups, has launched a legal challenge to outside spending by GOP-leaning groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.
The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision opened the door to a massive change in political spending, which those groups capitalized on in last year’s midterm elections.
The new group wants U.S. attorneys to prosecute outside groups for using nonprofits to take anonymous donations in what it says is a violation of election laws that require transparency. The new coalition has sent letters to 40 U.S. attorneys, along with 12,000 signatures, asking them to prosecute alleged 2010 election law violations.
“What this is about is people who don’t want to see secret campaign contributions,” said Kevin Zeese, a spokesman and attorney for the group. “This is a conspiracy between the funders not wanting their names used and American Crossroads using a nonprofit to violate election laws.”
Chamber spokesman J.P. Fielder fired back: “This is the latest in a desperate attempt by the anti-business community to intimidate and threaten those who disagree with their opinion,” adding, “The Supreme Court repeatedly has recognized that they, either directly or through trade associations, are vital participants in our public debate. We are confident that such idle, unsubstantiated threats will not deter Americans from exercising their First Amendment rights.”