For Immediate Release: Contact:Angela Bradbery, Public Citizen, (202) 588-7741
Oct. 20, 2010 Kevin Zeese, Protect Our Elections, (301) 996-6582
Watchdogs to FEC: American Future Fund Appears to Be
Violating Campaign Finance Law
Conservative Organization Appears to Operate As a Political Committee But Is Registered As Nonprofit, Say Groups
WASHINGTON, D.C. – American Future Fund, a conservative nonprofit group pouring money into the 2010 midterm elections, appears to be violating campaign finance law, watchdog groups said in a complaint filed today with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The FEC should investigate whether American Future Fund must register as a political committee for its huge expenditures in the election, making the group subject to recordkeeping, reporting and disclosure requirements, Public Citizen, Protect Our Elections and the Center for Media and Democracy said in the complaint, available at http://www.velvetrevolution.us/images/FEC_Final_Complaint_AmericanFutureFund101510.pdf.
The group is registered as a 501(c)(4) organization, which under IRS tax code cannot have a primary purpose of influencing elections. Similarly, federal election law provides that if a group’s major purpose is electioneering and it spends at least $1,000 to influence elections, it must register as a political committee. American Future Fund’s major activity appears to be its extensive electioneering activities, the watchdogs argue.
READ THE REST OF COMPLAINT BY CLICKING "READ MORE" BELOW
By Krissah Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 19, 2010; 1:37 PM
A study of felony disenfranchisement laws has found that 800,000 former felons have been returned to the voter rolls in the past decade.
A push by criminal justice advocates and civil rights groups to rewrite state laws that sometimes place lifetime voting bans on felons has resulted in 23 states amending their policies since 1997 to expand voter eligibility, according to a report out by the Sentencing Project.
Nine states repealed or reduced their lifetime voting bans, and eight states made it easier for former felons to appeal to have their voting rights restored.
Those changes were made despite "political challenges that hinder reform and can make it difficult for elected officials to extend civil rights to persons with felony convictions," said Nicole Porter, author of the report and the Sentencing Project's state advocacy coordinator.
Existing policies vary from state to state, with Kentucky and Virginia denying ex-felons the right to vote – even after they have completed parole or probation sentences. Both states require individuals to apply to the governor for restoration of civil rights.
Watchdog Groups Ask Department of Justice to Use Criminal Statutes to Stop Crossroads GPS and American Future Fund From Violating Campaign Finance Laws
DOJ Has Statutory Obligation To Step In And Enjoin Use Of Tax Exempt Non Profits To Launder Secret Money And Manipulate Elections
WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Yesterday, several watchdog groups dedicated to clean and honest elections sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting that it immediately employ the criminal sanctions provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) to enjoin, investigate and prosecute Crossroads GPS and the American Future Fund for their "knowing and willful" violation of various provisions of the Act, such as failing to register as a political committee, failing to file political committee financial disclosure reports and failing to comply with the political committee organizational requirements.
"The conventional wisdom around Washington is that campaign finance violations can only be reviewed and adjudicated by the FEC using civil sanctions," said Kevin Zeese, attorney and spokesman for the watchdog groups. "This is wrong. Specifically, FECA provides for criminal sanctions, enforced by the Department of Justice, in the case of 'knowing and willful' violations of FECA that exceed specified monetary thresholds. See 2 U.S.C. section 437g(d). In the DOJ's own handbook on elections, it takes the position that 'in view of the enhanced criminal penalties for FECA crimes and the legislative history supporting their enactment, … all knowing and willful FECA violations should be considered for federal prosecution under one or more of the prosecutive theories….'"
October 13, 2010: A video clip has been released today showing billionaire industrialist David Koch on stage getting reports from regional organizers on their efforts to rally the Tea Party movement.
David Koch, who has received a lot of attention lately for the millions he has spent over the years boosting right-wing organizations like Americans for Prosperity, has tried on numerous occasions to distance himself from the supposedly "grassroots" Tea Party phenomenon.
Case in point, David Koch told New York magazine this summer in an interview that:
"I've never been to a tea-party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me."
The clip released today, taken from a new documentary called (Astro) Turf Wars: How Corporate America Faked a Grassroots Revolution, clearly shows David Koch receiving reports from regional Tea Party organizers:
October 13, 2010: Moments ago, in conjunction with Public Citizen, Protect Our Elections filed a complaint with the FEC against Crossroads GPS, claiming that the 501c(4) nonprofit is, in fact, a political committee and should be subject to the restrictions and disclosure rules for political committees.
Crossroads GPS was formed in July 2010 by Rove and Gillespie, former Republican National Committee chairman. It shares offices with American Crossroads, a registered political committee created this year that also is the brainchild of Rove and Gillespie, according to published reports.
Final ruling likely to come the day before the election
October 8, 2010- Common Cause Minnesota’s complaint against the Republican Governors Association (RGA), Minnesota’s Future and Minnesota’s Future LLC has entered the full investigation phase, according to Mike Dean, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota. The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board cannot legally comment on any complaint until an investigation is complete and the board has made its ruling.
Common Cause Minnesota filed the complaint last week alleging that the three groups coordinated to funnel money from the RGA to Minnesota’s Future without disclosing all of the required donor information. The RGA has provided essentially all of the funding for Minnesota’s Future, which has used that money to run ads attacking Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton.
Senate Republicans beat back an effort by Democrats Tuesday to end tax breaks for companies who send jobs offshore only to import products back into the United States. The House has passed a series of similar legislation over the past several weeks, as Democrats work to portray Republicans as in the pocket of Big Business at the expense of workers, the economy, the trade deficit and the budget deficit. That message was muddied, however, by the defection of four Democrats and Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman, who voted against the motion to end a filibuster.
"I wish this election would be a simple referendum on this issue," Dick Durbin, the Senate's number two Democrat, said on the Senate floor Monday night. "Who in the world believes that we should be rewarding corporations in our country for shipping jobs overseas?"
Senate Democrats have offered a compromise to Republicans in hopes of getting just a solitary vote tomorrow on sweeping campaign finance disclosure laws.
Addressing GOP concerns that the DISCLOSE Act — which would require unprecedented transparency from organizations spending on campaigns — was authored in an attempt to change the course of the 2010 elections, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced on Wednesday that he will move the start date for the legislation until next year.
"We are willing to change the effective date to January 2011 so that it won't apply to this November's election," Schumer said. "Even if we didn't take this step, the reality is, we are late enough in the election cycle that the law could not realistically take effect in time for this fall. But to show we are willing to work with Republicans, we would offer this as an amendment if we can get onto the bill."
The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released the unclassified version of its investigation into Russian cyberattacks on digital U.S. voting systems ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The report finds that Moscow conducted an “unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign” against the … Read More
The rise of voting restrictions since the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Download map here.