National Journal is reporting that the Federal Election Commission has called on a secretive campaign committee backed by Karl Rove to reveal its donors.
Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, aka Crossroads GPS, is one of a slew of 501(c)4 groups that proliferated in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, running millions of dollars worth of attack ads without disclosing who was paying for them. They were first popular among Republicans and derided by Democrats, but are now catching on among supporters of both parties.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Crossroads spent some $15 million on attack ads (and more than $17 million in total) during the 2010 election cycle, including $354,016 going after former Gov. Charlie Crist during his U.S. Senate bid against Marco Rubio.
Its Super PAC sister, American Crossroads, which does disclose donors, spent more than $21.5 million. Its latest contributions to the political discourse include this pillory of South Florida Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
According to the National Journal article, Crossroads GPS will likely fend off the FEC’s request without much trouble, which campaign finance watchdogs say is a sign that current disclosure laws are broken, but also a signal that groups like Crossroads can expect to come under greater scrutiny, at least at the federal level.