Op-Ed Sparks FEC Fight Over Dark Money After Supreme Court Ruling

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An op-ed penned by a Federal Elections Commission official has sparked infighting over the agency’s investigation into spending by dark money groups like the Karl Rove-linked Crossroads GPS, according to the Sunlight Foundation.

FEC Vice Chair Ann Ravel, who is a Democrat, blamed the three Republican members on the commission for its inability to investigate the type of spending in an op-ed published in the New York Times on Wednesday, the day after the Supreme Court struck down limits on the total amount that an individual may donate across political candidates and committees in an election cycle.

“The Federal Election Commission is failing to enforce the nation’s campaign finance laws,” she wrote. “The problem stems from three members who vote against pursuing investigations into potentially significant fund-raising and spending violations. In effect, cases are being swept under the rug by the very agency charged with investigating them.”

“This transparency is vital to our democracy, and even more so after the Supreme Court yesterday struck down aggregate limits on political contributions,” she added.

Republican Commissioner Caroline Hunter shot back at a Thursday FEC meeting.

“Should we investigate every 501(c)4 that makes [independent expenditures]?” Hunter asked, according to the Sunlight Foundation. “You’re happy if someone is enforcing the law as you see it, not as it is written.”

Ravel responded by saying she preferred not to discuss the matter in a public meeting, according to Sunlight.

Crossroads GPS has spent millions to support Republican candidates since the 2010 elections, but is not required to disclose their donors due to its status as a 501(c)4.

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