The Watchdog CREW: Good Government Group Confuses Ethics with Liberalism

Summary: The George Soros-funded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) enjoys making lofty pronouncements about its nonpartisan status but it still attacks Republicans more than Democrats. The left-leaning group also has some odd ideas about public disclosure laws.

In 2010 former Bush advisor Karl Rove and former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie attracted much media attention when they launched American Crossroads, an independent political group that planned to raise $50 million to elect conservatives to political office. Shortly thereafter they followed up by launching a spin-off 501(c)(4) lobby group called Crossroads GPS (Grassroots Policy Strategies). The mission of both groups was to elect Republicans to Congress and the White House. American Crossroads, an IRS-designated 527 political group, reported raising $15 million in the two months before the election. In total the groups, run mainly by former Republican Party offi cials, raised at least $56 million from contributors who are mostly anonymous.

This anonymity outraged a government watchdog organization called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW.  It demanded that the Internal Revenue Service investigate whether American Crossroads should be tax-exempt and whether Crossroads GPS should release the names of its donors. Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director since 2003, urged the Senate Finance Committee to investigate the groups. “It’s sort of the Wild West of tax law,” Sloan said. “Nobody seems to feel any compunction about following tax codes.”

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