Democrats and liberal activist groups are launching a full-scale assault on the conservative groups that have been making it rain this election cycle. MoveOn.org and nonprofits like Public Citizen and Public Campaign are asking the Justice Department and the IRS to investigate these groups and their sources of funding, the Wall Street Journal reports. They also plan to pester media outlets to check whether the money used for political ad buys is legal for that purpose.
Their ultimate goal: to force pro-Republican groups to name their backers. “We’re using every avenue we can to keep the spotlight on them, and hopefully someone’s going to come forward,” says one Public Citizens lobbyist. Democrats are piling on, too; one recent ad accused the Chamber of Commerce of using contributions from foreign donors. It’s legal for US arms of foreign companies to spend money on US elections, but Washington strategists now recommend they avoid it—one campaign finance attorney frets that they’re “a convenient target to demagogue.” (Read more campaign finance stories.)