The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee complaint alleges groups, including American Crossroads, Americans for Prosperity and 60 Plus Association, are shielding the identities of their donors by claiming tax-exempt status while in reality the groups have partisan political objectives, Roll Call reported Monday.
"Respondents are raising and spending millions of dollars to accomplish their major purpose of influencing federal elections, while hiding their funding sources," DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil said in the complaint. "By operating in secret, they have violated and continue to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act."
Citing campaign finance experts, Roll Call said it is unlikely the FEC will resolve the complaint before the November elections since -- with its membership evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats -- it typically takes longer than a year to decide such disputes.
President Barack Obama's re-election campaign filed a complaint with the FEC last month demanding that former White House aide Karl Rove's political operation disclose its donors. Robert F. Bauer, the chief counsel for the Obama campaign, argued Rove's group, Crossroads GPS, is a "political committee" and therefore subject to federal political contribution reporting requirements.
A spokesman for Crossroads GPS, Jonathan Collegio, said Obama's lawyers were singling out Republican-friendly groups, The New York Times reported.
Collegio said Monday the DSCC complaint is "virtually identical to the complaint filed by the Obama campaign and DNC," Roll Call reported.
60 Plus Chairman Jim Martin argued the complaint is targeted only at "GOP leaning groups" and was "naked politics pure and simple."
The DSCC complaint said, "Right-wing billionaires and corporations are getting special treatment, while any other American must adhere to strict limits and disclosure requirements."