A campaign finance watchdog group is asking federal officials to investigate the Wisconsin Club for Growth.
The complaint filed by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign with the IRS challenges the club’s tax-exempt status, based on its claims that it operates as a social welfare organiztion. The move follows last week’s release of leaked documents by the Guardian U.S., which detailed Governor Scott Walker’s fundraising for the group and coordination on messaging during the state’s historic wave of recall elections.
WDC executive director Matt Rothschild says the documents give the appearance the group was “deceptively raising money,” while electioneering…something he says the group should not have been allowed to do as a social welfare organization. “Essentially what was going on is Wisconsin Club for Growth was a front and a funnel for the Walker campaign.”
The CFG’s status allows it to raise unlimited corporate contributions, which are not disclosed. Before the state Supreme Court shut down the investigation, prosecutors were arguing that the coordination between Walker’s campaign and CFG violated campaign finance laws. The decision to end the probe is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Wisconsin Club for Growth did not return a message seeking comment.
The Center for Media and Democracy filed a similar complaint in 2014, although it’s unclear if the IRS ever investigated.