Federal election law has required the public disclosure of campaign donors for nearly 40 years.
But this year, outside groups are playing a powerful role in the presidential election. And some of them disclose nothing about their donors. That's despite what the Supreme Court said in its controversial Citizens United ruling two years ago.
Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 1:31 pm
You wouldn't think politicians would have any trouble raising enough money these days. The presidential race is expected to be a billion-dollar affair, and spending records have been shattered at the congressional level.
Among the biggest advertisers in the presidential campaign is a group that says it doesn't do political advertising: Crossroads GPS.
Crossroads GPS — which stands for Grassroots Policy Strategies — was co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove. It and others like it enable wealthy donors to finance attack ads while avoiding the public identification they would face if they gave to more overtly political committees.
With a not guilty verdict on one count and the jury deadlocked on five others, it appears John Edwards' federal trial on campaign-finance charges ended with a whimper, certainly from the Justice Department's point of view.
At first blush, it can be argued that how the trial of the former U.S. senator from North Carolina ended may do little to deter politicians. They'll still be able to go forward and rake in money from supporters and, with some sleight of hand, spend that cash on practically anything.