Super PACs take brash new steps to hide their donors
Red and Gold sent a brief note to the Federal Election Commission informing regulators that it would file monthly reports showing who financed the group. Its first disclosure “will be due on September 20,” the super PAC wrote — more than three weeks after McSally’s Arizona Republican primary is over.
It wasn’t the first super PAC to pull that trick: The scheme is part of a sharp escalation in super PACs avoiding reporting requirements and keeping voters in the dark about their funding until after key elections. Two other groups aired more than $3 million in attack ads in West Virginia’s GOP Senate primary this year and used the same method to dodge the FEC until after the May 8 vote. Overall, at least two dozen super PACs that spent millions of dollars in recent elections used loopholes to get out of revealing their donors, according to information compiled by the Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog organization.
It’s a sign that political operatives see more risk in revealing the big-money meddlers in congressional elections than in pushing the boundaries of campaign finance law — and many of the groups pushing the boundaries are aligned with Democrats, the party most associated with complaints about undisclosed “dark money” affecting elections.
“Political operatives are finding all sorts of new ways to deprive voters from information about who is funding them when voters go to the polls on election day,” said Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at Campaign Legal Center, which recently filed three FEC complaints against misbehaving super PACs. “These operatives may view the FEC as so dysfunctional that they can ignore their most basic legal obligations and get away with it.”