Thursday, August 18, 2016

Complaints filed over Koch-related dark money political spending

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 10:29 AM

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Ethics group is tracking sources of money for group that paid for mailers like this.
  • FOLLOW THE MONEY: Ethics group is tracking sources of money for group that paid for mailers like this.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed new complaints against the Center to Protect Patient Rights for alleged misrepresentations on its tax returns.

CREW describes the Center as a main funding group of the Koch brothers. The core of its complaint is the allegation that the Center hid the funneling of political money to three other groups in the Koch network — the 60 Plus Association, the American Future Fund, and Americans for Job Security — though the center said on its tax form that it participated in no political activity.

These three groups are worth noting because they've turned up in Arkansas politics in recent years, generally in support of Republican candidates. The 60 Plus group was particularly active in 2012, when its fliers decrying Obamacare and featuring the photo of a black man appeared to tear down many Democratic candidates (such as Barry Hyde, defeated in a close race for state Senate by a Republican.) The American Future Fund played in the Republican primary in 2014, in behalf of David Sterling, who lost to Leslie Rutledge.

CREW notes that the Federal Election Commission has fined the three groups for hiding the sources of their funds. CREW thinks the FBI and the IRS also should investigate. CREW said:

“This is a simple case of lying to federal agencies,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “The FBI, Department of Justice and IRS should all investigate and the IRS should begin an audit.”

According to the FEC’s general counsel’s office, there is a reasonable basis for concluding CPPR provided funds to the groups “for the purpose of furthering” independent expenditures and electioneering communications, clear political activity. In addition to their six figure civil penalties, the three Koch network groups committed to amending their FEC disclosures “to reflect CPPR as a donor with respect to the relevant independent expenditures,” with 60 Plus also amending with respect to the relevant electioneering communications.

Click here to read the IRS complaint and here to read the criminal complaint

Click here for more on the FEC's fines

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