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The Real CREW

2:54 PM, Aug 1, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Some political groups like to go incognito, hiding their political allegiances in order to take on a more serious, impartial tone. Take, for instance, the “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington,” which masquerades as “non-partisan watchdog.” But CREW is far from non-partisan, a new report from the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) points out.

In a report at the microsite CREWExposed.com, CCF catalogues the partisan behavior of this “watchdog” group. Among the highlights

♦ Between March 2004 and September 2010, CREW filed 29 complaints with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), of which 76 percent targeted Republicans or conservative-leaning groups. Yet according to a select list of cases compiled by the FEC, only 40 percent of the civil penalties of $50,000 or more levied by the agency since 1980 were against Republican politicians or Republican Party supporters.

♦ Between October 2003 and October 2010, CREW filed 17 complaints with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) asking for investigations of congressmen and other political organization. All of those complaints targeted Republicans or conservative nonprofit organizations. Yet between 2005 and 2010, 50 percent of political or ideological organizations whose 501(c)(3) charitable statuses were revoked by the IRS were conservative and 50 percent were liberal.

♦ Between March 2004 to July 2010, CREW filed 28 complaints or requests for action with the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, also known as the House Ethics Committee. Of those, 75 percent targeted Republicans while only 18 percent were against Democrats. The rest targeted both Republicans and Democrats. Yet only 33 percent members of Congress disciplined by the Committee since 1967 were Republicans, while 67 percent were Democrats.

There’s a pattern of partisanship so striking at work that it should raise some eyebrows, just as it has for former Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who wants the “I.R.S. to revoke CREW’s tax exempt status.” Just something worth keeping in mind the next time someone describes CREW as a “non-partisan watchdog.”

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