On Wednesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) executive director Melanie Sloan called conservative nonprofit Crossroads GPS "highly secretive" and hypocritical for not revealing their donors. Yesterday, CREW told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that it did not discuss its own list of donors with the public. Would it be fair, then, to call CREW "highly secretive" as well?
Perhaps. Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel and Jessica Taylor reported last Novemeber on a Washington meeting, closed to the public, of highly influential Democratic donors and interest groups. According to the report, representatives of CREW were among those attending this "secretive" meeting (emphasis mine):
Some of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors met Tuesday afternoon with influential party figures such as AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, organizer Joan Fitz-Gerald and former White House aide Van Jones to discuss the lessons and implications of the GOP’s landslide midterm election victory.
The meeting – organized by a group of wealthy, politically active liberals called the Democracy Alliance– took place at Washington’s swank Mandarin Oriental hotel, where off-duty police officers and other security patrolled the halls looking for reporters and other uninvited guests, who were escorted from the premises.
"The agreement is that everything that goes on here is confidential," one adviser to major liberal donors said while waiting for a taxi outside the hotel. “I didn't come up with the policy, but I think it serves the purposes of allowing people to speak freely and let their hair down,” said the adviser, who did not want to be identified violating the agreement. ...
Among the organizations represented at this week’s conference were the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the centrist NDN think tank, Campaign for America’s Future, Campaign for Community Change, Advancement Project, Brave New Films, State Voices, and union-related groups that work to mobilize liberal voters, including Working America, Progressive Majority and America Votes.
These are private individuals and organizations who have every right to meet behind closed doors. But why does CREW's policy seem to be "openness for me, not for thee"?
In addition to a cheap shot at Karl Rove and Crossroads GPS, CREW seems to be ignoring one of the first major scandals of the 2012 election cycle. Is it because it involves a Democrat facing reelection next year?
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri admitted this week she owes nearly $300,000 in back taxes on an airplane she and her husband owned. There's been no statement yet from CREW on the senator's failure to pay these taxes as well as McCaskill's improper use of taxpayer money for political travel (for which she has already reimbursed the Treasury). I called CREW again today to see if they planned to make a comment on this ethics scandal, but I have yet to hear back.