The Federal Election Commission dismissed two newly revealed enforcement cases that alleged the conservative nonprofit Crossroads GPS, linked to Republican political advisor Karl Rove, broke campaign finance laws by failing to report spending on campaign ads and collecting undisclosed money earmarked for campaign advertising.
The FEC actions were revealed Jan. 5 by the liberal watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which filed complaints in the cases in 2012. Details, including how the six FEC commissioners voted on the cases, have not yet been revealed, though it appeared the commissioners deadlocked along party lines on one or both cases, leading to their dismissal without any penalty.
The cases were the latest in a series of enforcement matters in which the FEC effectively has given a green light to activities—by super political action committees and other campaign spending groups—that critics claimed are illegal. The commissioners deadlocked in other recently revealed cases involving such issues as whether groups allied with a candidate can use candidate-produced video in their ads and the extent to which a candidate can help raise money for allied groups before declaring candidacy.
Only one of the recent cases—involving a super PAC paying to air virtually an entire campaign ad originally produced for and aired by a candidate’s campaign—has led to an FEC fine (4155 Money & Politics Report, 12/14/15