We're Bipartisan in Insisting Donor Laws Be Observed

Elephant and Donkey rock formations and people from both sides of aisle shaking hands

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal editorial board made a series of factually unsupported attacks on the Campaign Legal Center in a published editorial. This week the paper ran our letter to the editor regarding the demonstrably false accusations.

The full text of the letter published October 20, 2010 under the same title as this blog entry follows below.

Regarding your editorial attack on the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 ("Shutting Up Business," Oct. 11): We did not, as you claim, ask for an investigation of whether Crossroads GPS is "spending too much money on campaigns." Instead, we asked for the IRS to see if the group was claiming an improper tax status in order to conceal its donors. The parent organization, American Crossroads, was formed as a 527 group that would disclose its donors, but as organization officials have freely admitted, some donors were uncomfortable revealing their financial support. So the 501(c)(4), Crossroads GPS, was created. As our letter to the IRS makes clear, under the tax laws, such an organization's "primary activity" cannot be participation in political campaign activity. To date, there is no sign that Crossroads GPS has done anything but political activity since its inception.

Your accusation that we sat on the sidelines in previous election cycles is also untrue. In 2006, our organizations filed complaints against liberal 527 organizations, Majority Action and the Lantern Project, that were illegally spending "soft money" to influence elections attacking Republican candidates. In the same year, we filed complaints against two conservative 527 groups, the Economic Freedom Fund and Softer Voices.

The significant drop in illegal activity by 527s in the 2008 cycle was likely the result of the record fines imposed in response to our 2004 complaints against both Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning 527s , which regrettably took the Federal Election Commission more than two years to resolve. We have maintained a record of evenhandedness in our dealings with both liberal and conservative groups.

That we have yet to file a companion letter with the IRS this cycle regarding a liberal organization is due solely to the fact that we have not to date been able to identify any comparable left-leaning groups which appear on the surface at least to be operating so blatantly in violation of their tax status.

J. Gerald Hebert

Executive Director

The Campaign Legal Center