Update: Supreme Court Rejects Karl Rove

E. Barrett Prettyman United States Court House, which houses U.S. District Court for District of Columbia.

In an update to TNB’s story here, about the case where DC District Court Judge Beryl Howell’s ruling, filed August 3rd, struck down the FEC’s rule allowing “dark money” contributions moves forward with the Supreme Court rejecting an “emergency application” asking for the court “to step in” on Karl Rove’s Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (GPS) behalf to block Judge Howell’s ruling, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Supreme Court gave no reason for their denial and further removed Chief Justice Roberts’ earlier order dated September 15th “that temporarily blocked” Judge Howell’s order pending further order from either Roberts or the Court. The one-page rejection order reads,

(ORDER LIST: 585 U.S.)




The application for stay, presented to The Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court, is denied. The order heretofore entered by The Chief Justice is vacated.

Supreme Court order, September 18, 2018

In a statement from the ‘watchdog’ group Citizens For Responsibility And Ethics In Washington’s (CREW) executive director Noah Bookbinder, the NYT’s reports, said, “This is a great day for transparency and democracy … three courts, including the Supreme Court, have now rejected Crossroads’ arguments for a stay, meaning we’re about to know a lot more about who is funding our elections.”

The case of Citizens For Responsibility And Ethics In Washington, et al., v Federal Election Commission and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies will now move to the Federal Appeals Court, “but no decision is expected until after the elections in November,” the NYT further reports, adding, “that means many groups placing campaign advertisements will have to disclose their donors in the meantime.”

Judge Howell’s ruling, Politico reported at the time, said, “FEC’s current regulation of such groups, including 501(c)4 non-profits, fails to uphold the standard Congress intended when it required the disclosure of politically related spending,” noting that Judge Howell’s ruling ended a years long battle between CREW, the FEC and Rove’s Crossroads GPS.

Judge Howell wrote:

“The challenged regulation facilitates such financial ‘routing,’ blatantly undercuts the congressional goal of fully disclosing the sources of money flowing into federal political campaigns, and thereby suppresses the benefits intended to accrue from disclosure …”

Judge Howell Ruling; PDF pg. 112

Judge Howell’s ruling also gave the FEC 45 days to issue a provisional rule that would follow the ruling for the standards as well as 30 days to consider reversing its earlier vote to dismiss CREW’s original complaint. There is no update reported at this time if the FEC has acted according to the District Court’s ruling.

On A Side Note (Opinion)

At the time of this story, back on August 5th, I alerted readers to a little known move the IRS and Treasury made on July 18th, in my opinion, because they had a pretty good indication on how Judge Howell would rule, in a backdoor move to circumvent that possibility made a new “rule” they were no longer going to require names of donors on tax forms on contributions over $5000, including 501c4’s, which is the law.

According to campaign finance tax laws for the IRS 501c4’s include all non-profits, groups like PP, activist groups, veterans groups, unions, and the NRA, and while 501c4’s are allowed to receive money donations for political reasons they can only do so as long as their primary function is not political.

This announcement by the Treasury and IRS was largely overshadowed by another announcement that day. The DOJ announced that same morning the arrest of Maria Butina who was charged with conspiracy to act as a foreign agent of the Russian Federation operating in the U.S.


Because this will now have to go to the Court of Appeals, it will still be one to watch, as well as if anything happens with this IRS/Treasury “rule.”

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