Dark money group spends $200,000 on ads opposing Puerto Rico debt relief bill


According to Sunlight Foundation’s Political Ad Sleuth tool, a 501(c)(4) dark money group called the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) has purchased at least $200,000 in ads in the Washington, D.C., market, an attempt to influence lawmakers crafting economic legislation to assist Puerto Rico’s dire financial situation. The territory is currently struggling under enormous debt obligations and is seeking help from Congress and the federal government.

On March 29, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, released a discussion draft of legislation aimed at helping Puerto Rico deal with its debt crisis. Bishopstated the draft legislation “provides Puerto Rico with tools to impose discipline over its finances, meet its obligations and restore confidence in its institutions.”
According to its website, CFIF’s mission is “to protect and defend individual freedoms and individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.” In a press release, CFIF says it opposes the draft legislation and plans to run a national ad campaign opposing what it calls “Super Chapter 9” bankruptcy. We don’t know how much is also being spent on Internet ads or on cable, satellite and radio advertisements.
Because CFIF is a dark money group that is not required to disclose its donors, we also don’t know who is funding the ad buys. According to Internal Revenue Service documents obtained byOpenSecrets, Crossroads GPS – another dark money group tied to Karl Rove – gave almost $5 million to CFIF since 2011.
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