Good news is infrequent when you’re on the anticorruption beat. Notable recent incidents, for example, have included the sentencing of a former U.S. congressman’s wife for misuse of campaign funds and the resignation of a North Carolina state legislator who had pled guilty to tax evasion charges. However, in a rare positive development, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled last month that the Federal Elections Commission (FEC)’s disclosure rules on dark money were too weak.
In the case at hand, CREW v. FEC (which should not be confused with other cases, including a 2018 case of the same name), the plaintiffs were led by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a nonpartisan nonprofit organization whose mission is to hold government officials accountable to ethics rules, campaign finance laws, and the Constitution. Meanwhile, the defendant was the FEC, the agency responsible for administering federal campaign finance laws, including transparency rules. CREW sues the FEC often because the agency is known for failing to achieve its main objective — the enforcement of campaign finance laws. While many critics scream at the FEC, “you had one job!”, CREW actually does the hard work of litigation in order to prompt the agency toward action.