Commission on Hope, Growth & Opportunity

Recently, the OMT Blog has invited several organization theory scholars to contribute their thoughts related to the theme of the organization of political campaigns and campaign finance. This week, Ed Walker commented on research opportunities in the post-Citizens United era.

In that spirit, tonight as I was driving my kids home from an after school appointment, I caught a segment on National Public Radio (NPR) about the Commission on Hope, Growth & Opportunity. According to NPR:

“They’ve probably run some of the more entertaining ads this cycle,” says Evan Tracey, who tracks political ads for a living at the Campaign Media Analysis Group. “They don’t look like a lot of the ads that are being shown over and over and over, by candidates and the parties and the other groups in a lot of these races.”

Although many of the ads being run by the Commission sound like political ads, according to a copy of the group’s official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filing obtained by NPR, when asked by the IRS if the organization planned “to spend any money to influence elections. It answered no.” Despite the group’s claims however:

“There’s not a whole lot of gray area as to whether these are about issues,” Tracey says. “They’re strictly about politics and elections.”

NPR also reports that the Commission on Hope, Growth & Opportunity appears to be skirting the reporting rules established by the Federal Election Commission as well as the Federal Communications Commission.

At the NPR website there is also an elaborate interactive network map which traces some of the people, money, organizations, and network ties involved.