Two Democratic-aligned groups filed campaign finance complaints seeking to force No Labels to reveal its donors, part of a broader push to scrutinize the group that for months has teased a “unity” ticket that Democrats view as a general election threat.
End Citizens United filed complaints with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging “fraudulent” misuse of the No Labels’s 501(c)(4) nonprofit status. Accountable.US, another Democratic-aligned organization, filed a complaint with Colorado’s Secretary of State.
The complaint hopes to force No Labels to follow the same rules as a formal political party, including revealing donors.
“No Labels’ corrupt charade has gone unchecked for too long and it’s time for them to be held accountable for abusing the law to evade transparency,” End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller said in a statement.
“No Labels has been trying to hide their donors because they know if Americans were able to see who is fueling their third party dreams they’d be exposed as puppets for big money special interests looking to pad their bottom lines over the interests of working people.”
No Labels has for months collected donations and worked on getting ballot access in all 50 states, laying the foundation for a potential third-party ticket that President Biden’s allies fear could help former President Trump, the current GOP front-runner who won both early primary states, return to the Oval Office.
No Labels dismissed the complaints, arguing American voters deserve to have choices at the ballot in 2024, especially when Trump and Biden are relatively unpopular.
“It’s no coincidence these different allegations were made at the same time since they are part of the same coordinated conspiracy to subvert No Labels’ ballot access and limit Americans choices,” chief strategist Ryan Clancy said in the statement to The Hill.
No Labels is registered as a nonprofit with the IRS, not as a political party. The status has allowed the organization to accept unlimited donations from donors with little transparency. If the complaint is successful, the group would have to register as a formal political party and reveal its donors.
A successful complaint would also force the group to abide by the same donation thresholds as other parties while also losing their tax-exempt status.
It’s not the first potential legal headache for the group this week.
On Tuesday, two New York mega-donors sued the group for $140,000, alleging a “bait and switch” maneuver and abandoning its original mission.
Accountable.US, the government watchdog group, filed its complaint in Colorado where No Labels achieved ballot access. The complaint would force the group to reveal their donors by forcing them to file quarterly reports, as written in the state’s law.
“Allowing No Labels Colorado Party to hide behind their associated national party would create a dangerous gap in Colorado’s campaign finance law, and allow national groups to funnel dark money into Colorado’s elections via state-level organizations,” the complaint says.
Clancy, the No Labels’ chief strategist, dismissed the Colorado complaint, citing the precedent set in the Unity08 v. FEC case.
“No Labels is working to secure nationwide ballot access under the precedent set by the Unity08 vs. Federal Election Commission case, which does not require us to register as a political committee so long as we are not actively supporting any specific candidate,” Clancy said.