On June 12th the 4th District Court of Appeals unanmously upheld a lower court’s decision to require SuperPACs, such as Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, who try to disguise themselves as “social welfare” organizations to disclose their list of donors. Thus far these groups have delayed these releases quite probably in an attempt to wait out the clock on the 2012 elections keeping voters in the dark about who is behind many of the questionable claims portrayed in their political ads.
Donor Disclosure Provisions Again Upheld by Fourth Circuit in Real Truth About Obama
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling upholding FEC rules governing donor disclosure in The Real Truth About Obama (RTAO) v. FEC. The suit specifically challenged the “subpart (b)” definition of “expressly advocating” (11 C.F.R. § 100.22(b)), as well as the FEC’s methodology for determining when a group has campaign activity as its “major purpose,” an important step in the larger determination of political committee status.
“This unanimous decision from the Fourth Circuit represents the latest in a string of victories for political transparency in the courts against a concerted nationwide litigation effort seeking to eliminate or cut back disclosure laws at the federal and state level,” Legal Center Senior Counsel Tara Malloy stated. “The public deserves to know who is footing the bills for the political advertising that can make or break candidate campaigns. The Supreme Court, even in its controversial decision in Citizens United, made it abundantly clear that disclosure of political spending is vitally important to our democratic process.”
This appeal to the Fourth Circuit is the latest development in the long-running proceedings in RTAO v. FEC.