Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity

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The Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity is a right-wing "501(c)4," Washington, D.C.-based group formed after the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision made it permissible for corporations to anonymously spend unlimited amounts of money influencing elections. The Commission was formed by Republican operative Scott Reed, who acknowledged that “Citizens United opened the door for the unparalleled participation by corporations at the financial level.” [1] The group expects to spend $25 million in the 2010 midterm elections supporting GOP candidates.[1]

2010 Midterm Election Activities

The Commission will be coordinating with other right-wing "outside interest groups" in the $50 million "House Surge Strategy" to help Republicans in House races.[2] The Strategy will be executed in close coordination with American Crossroads and American Action Network.

The Commission ran 2,153 ads between September and mid-October, 2010, but has not reported any of its spending to the FEC. [3] It plans on spending on approximately 20 races across the country, including New York, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, and Colorado.

Anonymous Funding Sources

As a nonprofit 501(c)4 organization, The Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity is not required by the IRS to disclose its donors, as such organizations are intended to "promote social welfare." According to the New York Times, "[t]he rule of thumb . . . is that more than 50 percent of a 501(c)(4)’s activities cannot be political."[4] however, a 501(c)(4) is permitted to "intervene in political campaigns as long as its primary purpose is the promotion of social welfare." Some say the idea that groups like the Commission "only invest[] in campaign advertisements to promote social welfare "is a complete joke". . . [t]he organization was created to elect Republicans and defeat Democrats."[5]

The sectors funding the Commission are those hit hardest by new regulations. "Where’s all that dough coming from? “The big three stepping into the batter’s box are the financial services industry, the energy industry, and the health insurance industry,” Reed said."[1]

October 2010 IRS Charges

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has filed IRS charges against the group, claiming the Commission "has not filed any notice of an “independent expenditure” or “electioneering communications” with the FEC for the recent ads it ran against Reps. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.), John Spratt (D-S.C.), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.), Frank Kratovil Jr. (D-Md.) and Allen Boyd (D-Fla.). The ads failed to include a disclaimer about who was behind them, as required by Federal law.[6]

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Oct 4, 2010, Campaign Cash: The Independent Fundraising Gold Rush Since ‘Citizens United’ Ruling, Peter H. Stone, Center for Public Integrity.
  2. October 13, 2010 GOP Groups Launch Massive Ad Blitz, Brony Mullins and Danny Yadron, Wall Street Journal
  3. October 13, 2010, Astroturfing The Airwaves: Right-Wing Groups Have Now Aired 60,000+ TV Ads Since Aug. 1, Alan Pyke, Political Correction/ Media Matters.
  4. Michael Luo and Stephanie Strom, Anonymous Donors Play Big Role in Midterms, New York Times, Sept. 20, 2010.
  5. Michael Crowley,The New GOP Money Stampede, TIME Magazine,Sept. 16, 2010, accessed September 19, 2010.
  6. October 5, 2010, DCCC: GOP Group Violates FEC Rule, John Breshnahan, POLITICO.