Conservative group seeks FEC approval to keep donors secret
By Matea Gold
WASHINGTON — A conservative group that plans to run a barrage of television ads attacking President Obama has asked the Federal Election Commission if it can avoid disclosing its donors by not naming him explicitly in its commercials.
American Future Fund, a tax-exempt free-market advocacy group based in Iowa, wants to air a series of spots hammering Obama’s energy and healthcare policies within 30 days of upcoming primary elections and 60 days of the November election, the group’s lawyers wrote to the FEC last month.
Ads that air in that time period and refer to a clearly identified federal candidate but stop short of calling for his or her election or defeat are considered “electioneering communication.” Until recently, the FEC required independent groups that run such spots to disclose only donors that gave money earmarked for the ads -- offering a way around the more rigorous disclosure required of political committees, which have to name all their contributors.