“Reformers” stretch the definition of “shadowy”

After Citizens United and during the discussion over the DISCLOSE Act, we’ve heard a great deal from the self-styled campaign finance “reform” community about “shadowy” groups with “anonymous” funding sources, and the threat that they allegedly pose to the Republic.

Last Friday, the Washington Post reported on one of these “shadow” groups running ads in Oregon:

An anonymous group tries to ignite a sleepy congressional race

A group calling itself Concerned Taxpayers of America started running television spots – a substantial ad buy of $86,000 – contending that [12-term Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio] had been in league with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in wrecking the economy. It also touted DeFazio’s Republican opponent Art Robinson as “a new voice, a smarter choice, the independent leader we need.”

As attack ads go, that is pretty mild fare. But its origin puzzled both DeFazio and his little-known opponent…

… there seems to be no record of an organization called Concerned Taxpayers of America, outside a few filings at the Federal Election Commission. The filings list a Capitol Hill address and the name of a treasurer, Republican political consultant Jason Miller.

Miller declined to say who is funding the group. He described the backers only as “folks who are concerned about the direction this country’s economy is going and want to make their voices heard.”

“…Is this a corporation? Is it one very wealthy, right-wing individual? Is it a foreign interest? Is it a drug gang?” DeFazio said. “We don’t know.”

Others have huffed and puffed over Concerned Taxpayers of America, including the Huffington Post who called them a “shadowy conservative group.”

But, as the Washington Post article reports, this “shadowy” group will be reporting its donors, when the next round of FEC reports are due – on October 15, if I’m reading the FEC schedule correctly.

… The names behind those voices apparently will remain a mystery – at least until the organization has to make a quarterly filing to the FEC in October.

In other words, there is no “anonymous”, or “shadow” group at operation here, simply a group that’s new enough that it hasn’t yet filed its first report with the FEC (the group in fact registered with the FEC as a PAC on September 1). If indeed it is “drug gangs” or “foreign interests” (the latter being illegal under 2 USC 441(e), as we’ve pointed out countless times) that are behind Concerned Taxpayers of America, that will be revealed exactly when it is supposed to be – at the next regularly scheduled reporting deadline with the FEC.

In other words, no story here, which given all the dissembling, distortion, and deception coming from the “reform” community on Citizens United and the DISCLOSE Act should be no surprise to anyone following the issue.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.