The Federal Election Commission said it won’t consider requiring organizations that air political advertisements to disclose their donors.
On a 3-3 party-line vote, the FEC decided today not to proceed on a request for such a rule by Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat.
Van Hollen filed his petition in April, more than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which removed restrictions on political ads funded by corporations and unions. Senate Republicans twice in 2010 blocked legislation that would require public disclosure of contributors.
The FEC did agree to begin changing regulations that conflict with the court decision. Chairwoman Cynthia Bauerly and fellow Democratic commissioner Steven Walther called the action “the bare minimum necessary” in a statement. Democrat Ellen Weintraub voted with Bauerly and Walther to consider a disclosure rule.
Of the five Republican-leaning groups that spent the most money, four kept their donors hidden, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, which former Republican White House aide Karl Rove helped create.
Crossroads GPS and its affiliated American Crossroads, which does disclose donors, said they planned to raise more than $240 million for the 2012 elections. Democrats have countered with their own political groups, including some that won’t disclose donors.