Newsletter August 2012

The Monthly Newsletter of CREW  //  August 2012  //  Issue No. 63




While Americans of all stripes continue to criticize the corrosive effects of the Citizens United ruling, Senate Republicans couldn’t muster a single vote to even debate the latest version of the DISCLOSE Act. Meanwhile, CREW has been furiously battling the influence of secret money in our elections on multiple fronts. 

Our latest exposé, Hit and Run, details how the Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity (CHGO) launched a multimillion-dollar assault on congressional candidates over the course of a few months in 2010 and then quickly went out of business, leaving the public and regulators with no one to hold accountable for the litany of election law violations. 

Melanie took to the pages of Roll Call with an op-ed, arguing that tax-exempt “social welfare” groups like the American Action Network should be banned from all political spending activity.

Additionally, we’ve continued to highlight insurance giant Aetna’s accidental disclosure of secret spending by calling on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to require insurance companies disclose all political spending.



CREW to Court: DOMA is Unconstitutional

Scales of Justice spacer

Earlier this month, CREW and Alan Morrison, a professor at The George Washington University Law School, filed a friend of the court brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to find the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

The brief pointed out the perverse effects DOMA has for ethics, tax, and bankruptcy laws by recognizing only same-sex married couples.  Our original arguments before the First Circuit court were relied on when that court found DOMA unconstitutional.



Rep. Issa's Contemptible Hypocrisy

Darrell Issa


Government officials don’t have the power to selectively violate secrecy laws when it suits their political agenda.  That’s the argument Melanie made in The Hill after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) disclosed information from a sealed wiretap application during his campaign to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. 

Rep. Issa is hiding behind the Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause to avoid legal accountability for his actions, so we’ve asked the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Justice Department to investigate.



Short-seller Shkreli


Wall Street’s influence on the political process isn’t limited to campaign donations: Powerful investors are increasingly seeking to sway the government’s regulatory processes for their own financial gain. 

We’ve called on the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to investigate Martin Shkreli, a short-seller who has repeatedly spread unfounded and inaccurate rumors about drug companies he was betting against.  Additionally, he inserted himself into the Food and Drug Administration's approval process for pending drugs of companies he was shorting, despite a lack of medical expertise.



Crossroads GPS Stretches the Definition of an "Issue Ad"


Karl RoveWould you tell someone who doesn’t hold office how to vote on a piece of legislation?  Of course not.

That hasn’t stopped Crossroads GPS, Karl Rove’s shadowy dark money group, from making that illogical suggestion in attack ads in three U.S. Senate races.  By disingenuously claiming these advertisements were “issue ads,” Crossroads GPS is trying to do an end run around the law to avoid disclosing its donors.

We filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) urging the gridlocked panel to investigate whether Crossroads GPS broke the law.



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