Pointing to the millions of dollars AAN has poured into promoting Republican candidates in recent races, CREW has spent years demanding that the FEC take action—and on March 20, U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper issued a similar order, giving the commission a 30-day deadline.

On the eve of the FEC’s failure to meet that deadline, Weintraub issued a statement urging CREW to utilize a federal provision that she said “has never been fully utilized,” but “allows complainants to sue respondents directly when the Federal Election Commission fails to enforce the law itself.”

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“Fire alarms are sometimes housed in boxes labeled ‘Break glass in case of emergency.’ The Federal Election Campaign Act has such a box,” Weintraub noted last week. “I’m breaking the glass.”

While AAN dismissed the lawsuit as “frivilous” in a statement to Politico, Weintraub posited that it “holds real promise of shining a bright light on a significant source of dark money.”

“Over a difficult and frustrating decade at the commission, I have seen colleagues with a deep ideological commitment to impeding this country’s campaign-finance laws erode the public’s right to free, fair, and transparent elections,” she added. “It’s time to break the glass and let this matter move forward unimpeded by commissioners who have fought every step of the way to keep dark money dark.”

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