Conservative Group Sues FEC for Redacted Crossroads Document

Will this oddly hidden document ever surface?

National Journal
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Shane Goldmacher
June 9, 2014, 8:17 a.m.

The con­ser­vat­ive Cen­ter for Com­pet­it­ive Polit­ics filed a law­suit Monday against the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion de­mand­ing a key re­dac­ted doc­u­ment in the case of Cross­roads GPS, the polit­ic­ally act­ive non­profit linked to GOP strategist Karl Rove.

The FEC dead­locked last Decem­ber in the closely watched case about wheth­er Cross­roads GPS should have to re­gister as a polit­ic­al group and thus have to dis­close its donors. But when the com­mis­sion re­leased the ac­com­pa­ny­ing doc­u­ments, along with its de­cision, a 76-page re­port from the FEC’s gen­er­al coun­sel was sealed. Each page was in­stead stamped “RE­DAC­TED.”

The three Re­pub­lic­ans on the com­mis­sion pushed to re­lease the pages, but Demo­crats blocked them. Since Na­tion­al Journ­al first re­por­ted on the miss­ing pages in March, the Cen­ter for Com­pet­it­ive Polit­ics filed a pub­lic-re­cords re­quest, which was denied.

The doc­u­ment, a first draft from the gen­er­al coun­sel’s of­fice, would be closely ana­lyzed by polit­ic­al at­tor­neys for in­sights in­to the com­mis­sion’s think­ing in cases of non­profits. It could also serve as a road map for cam­paigns to avoid FEC en­force­ment.

On Monday, the right-lean­ing group sued to see the sealed pages.

“The FEC ig­nored the law and its own policies and reg­u­la­tions that re­quire pub­lic­a­tion of the doc­u­ment,” said Dav­id Keat­ing, pres­id­ent of the group, in a state­ment. The law­suit was filed in the U.S. Dis­trict Court for the Dis­trict of Columbia.