Ethics Watchdog Calls for an Immediate Investigation into the Organization "Take Back The 9th Inc."
Evidence Indicates "Take Back The 9th Inc." did not disclose spending with the FEC.
Washington, D.C.— January 22, 2020— Today, the non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission to seek an investigation into the organization "Take Back the 9th Inc." for apparently failing to report its political spending in violation of the Federal Campaign Act.
In the filing FACT explains that organizations are required by federal law to disclose spending made to influence elections. One regulation requires any person or entity to report “independent expenditures,” which is an expenditure “for a communication expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate" that is not coordinated with a candidate or political party. Specifically in this case, an organization that “makes independent expenditures aggregating in excess of $250 with respect to a given election in a calendar year shall file a verified statement or report on FEC Form 5.”
The filing states, Take back the 9th Inc. was formed as a 501(c)(4) organization in Indiana on October 1, 2020. The only identifying information available about the organization was its office address and registered agent information. Yet, the organization created a website which sought contributions, and put up several billboards, all with the same political message that advocated for the defeat of a candidate identified by name. Without any public disclosure, Take Back the 9th Inc.’s political spending apparently was done in the month prior to the November 2020 election. Although Take Back the 9th Inc. paid for prominent political advertising, voters were unable to assess any information about the organization and its expenditures, including whether the advertisements were made in cooperation with a candidate, and the identity of the contributors to the organization. FACT has also filed the complaint with the Internal Revenue Service for review of the organization's "social welfare" status.
“This is a case where an organization was formed immediately before an election with the apparent purpose of engaging in political activity. Because this 'social welfare' organization did not disclose any information about its spending with the FEC, we request an immediate investigation and appropriate enforcement actions," said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.
A full copy of the complaint can be found here.
FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/