In what is being hailed as a victory for campaign finance transparency, the Supreme Court has rejected an attempt to keep secret the name of a donor who gave $1.7 million to a Republican super PAC eight years ago.
The decision holds some potential to make it more difficult for so-called dark money groups to shield the identities of their biggest contributors in this campaign season and beyond. Increasing sunlight on the forces pouring so many millions into American politics is a main goal of democracy reform groups at a time when increased regulation is not a realistic hope.
The high court on Monday let stand an appeals court's ruling that the donor — a trust fund and its trustee identified only as "John Doe" in court filings — has no right to remain anonymous and may be publicly identified by the Federal Election Commission.
While the novel coronavirus has upended life across the country, the democracy reform community is sounding determined to stay on course through an election year that could prove pivotal for its goals.
The rapid spread of Covid-19 has brought unprecedented challenge to lobbyists and advocates for all causes, including those working to fix the broken political system. Not only have logistics been jumbled and planned campaigns threatened, but the public and the nation's policymakers are now singularly focused on the pandemic and the economic collapse it's threatening — leaving almost no room for discussing any other national ills.
Highlighting how fix-the-system efforts are in limbo, one of the most prominent and best-financed advocacy groups, RepresentUs, planned to announce that its Unrig convention, scheduled to take place in eight weeks, would be postponed for at least several months.
At the same time, the infectious and potentially deadly virus is also scrambling the democracy reform agenda, with an optimistic coalition rapidly assembling behind what had been a second-tier cause: expanding access to the polls by making voting at home the American standard.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) uses aggressive legal action, in-depth research, and bold communications to reduce the influence of money in politics and help foster a government that is ethical and accountable. We highlight abuses, change behavior, and lay the groundwork for new policies and approaches that encourage public officials to work for the benefit of the people, not powerful interests, in accordance with the principles of ethical government the founders set out in the Constitution.