Shining a Light on Super PACs | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Shining a Light on Super PACs

Last Wednesday, July 16, the Jackson Free Press notified Bishop Ronnie Crudup of New Horizon Church International that his super PAC All Citizens for Mississippi had not filed the required "24-hour reports" for expenditures for communication advocating or opposing election candidates during the lead-up to the June 24 Republican runoff in the U.S. Senate race.

Discrepancies with All Citizens' FEC filings have raised questions about the transparency of the group's actions, but Crudup claims the mistake was a misunderstanding.

"We had a different interpretation but made a call to some folks and got some counsel, so we're going to get it filed," Crudup said Wednesday after Jackson Free Press inquired about the PAC's missing 24-hour reports.

Federal law requires that money spent on such election communications is an independent expenditure that must be filed with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours when disseminated 20 days before an election and amounting to more than $1,000.

Initially, Crudup said the ads they placed on Jackson black radio stations, which were directly purchased by National Media Research Planning and Placement buyer Jon Ferrell, did not appear on his PAC's quarterly FEC filing because All Citizens didn't pay the buyer back for the ads until July—outside the filing time period.

This does not, however, excuse why the group's June advertising purchases were not reported within 24 hours. "Not paying for radio ads is not an excuse. The dissemination date of the radio ads is the date that determines when they need to be reported," Jacob Fenton of The Sunlight Foundation, a national government transparency watchdog group, told the Jackson Free Press last week.

When confronted, Crudup said the group planned to make the FEC filings. "We are going to rectify that of not filing that," Crudup said.

Crudup also said the FEC had not contacted All Citizens about the missing reports. "We contacted them, the FEC hadn't contacted us," Crudup said.

As of Tuesday, All Citizens for Mississippi had not filed any 24-hour reports for June radio and print advertising.

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