The Republican commissioners of the Federal Election Commission have broken their silence about the mysterious 76-page document that was redacted against their wishes in the deadlocked decision over whether Crossroads GPS was a legitimate nonprofit. In a statement posted to the FEC’s website late Tuesday, the commission’s three Republicans pulled back the curtain a bit on the missing document. “We do not believe that these redactions are necessary,” they wrote, saying they had sought to release the documents in a closed-door commission meeting but “the vote failed.” National Journal first reported the existence of the massive redaction and the behind-the-scenes controversy earlier this month.
The sealed document is the initial report from the FEC’s lawyers to the commission, from 2011, recommending how to proceed in the Crossroads case, one of the most consequential before the FEC in years. That initial report was withdrawn and replaced with a new one from the counsel’s office a year later. When the Republicans sought to publish the first report, along with their opinion in the case, it was blocked first by the Office of General Counsel and later by the FEC’s Democratic-aligned commissioners.
In their statement Tuesday evening, the commission’s Republicans—Lee Goodman, Caroline Hunter, and Matthew Peterson—wrote that the document “was clearly prepared with an expectation that it would be reviewed by commissioners and the general public.”