Today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) fined three so-called “dark money” organizations for violating campaign finance laws by failing disclose the source of funds used for political spending and advertisements. The three groups — the 60 Plus Association, the American Future Fund and Americans for Job Security — are each a part of the Koch brothers’ network of interest groups that seek to influence elections by spending exorbitant amounts of money on political advertisements.
Now, thanks to complaints filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) two years ago, those three organizations have been fined $233,000. The three organizations spent money on ads created by the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR), a Koch brothers organization that has since become American Encore, but didn’t disclose that money’s source.
We are encouraged by the FEC’s willingness to enforce our existing election laws, but there is more work to be done. There are still a number of outstanding complaints before the FEC, including some filed by CREW, that address more current issues, surrounding Hillary Clinton or illegal coordination between the Super PACs and campaigns of Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush and others.
In order to continue on the path toward stronger oversight, we support legislation to overhaul the FEC. By reducing the number of commissioners from six to five and instigating Congress to replace retiring commissioners quicker, the bipartisan Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act, introduced by Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Jim Renacci (R-OH), restructures our federal election watchdog to avoid the gridlock that has plagued it for decades.