2011 Annual Report

we Change business as usual in washington


Today’s Washington doesn’t have to be tomorrow’s. Crew works for the day when political corruption is a thing of the past, and our government is open, honest, and respected. To that end, we work with the brightest minds in the legal community and pair them with a top-notch research and communications team. Crew is fighting back against the special interests drowning out the voices of everyday citizens. We share your frustration with the current political system, but recognize that throwing up our hands and walking away in disgust is no solution. For the like-minded who want to build a better Washington, Crew speaks for you.

we engage and empower Citizens

In a democracy, the most powerful people in the country don’t sit in government offices. They stand in voting booths. Across America, thousands of citizens are adding their voices to CREW’s efforts, demanding better from their elected officials. These people know what we know: A small group of committed individuals can change the world. It’s the only thing that ever has.
Citizens for responsibility and ethiCs in Washington

engaging Citizens

It’s hard to watch or read the news and not learn about CREW’s work. In 2011, we appeared in 1,178 news stories (an average of 3.2 a day). We’ve built close relationships with some of the world’s best journalists to make sure citizens get important information. The New York Times, CNN, and Fox News often rely on CREW’s unbiased and unrivaled research team for their stories. CREW’s social media presence is growing at an exponential rate, allowing us to add citizens’ voices to the conversation. This increased engagement enables our followers to tell friends and family about CREW’s actions and encourages them to share tips and generate buzz.

Number of media impressions CREW earned in 2011

in your hometown

Percentage increase in CREW’s followers on Twitter in 2011

wherever you are, Crew is holding your political representatives accountable. we went after wisconsin governor scott walker when he illegally deployed state troopers to try to force democratic state legislators to return to the capital. Crew exposed the pay-to-play schemes employed by politicians such as louisiana governor bobby Jindal, whose wife’s charity accepted big donations from companies seeking the governor’s

assistance. we’ve filed three irs complaints against shadowy groups like the american action network, which flood our airwaves with advertisements paid for with anonymous corporate money. when the world found out rupert murdoch’s news Corp. had hacked into the voice mails of british citizens, Crew demanded (and got) a federal investigation to determine whether the same tactics were used in the u.s.

Nothing changes behavior quite like a spotlight. In a world where politicians and bureaucrats often attempt to avoid accountability, CREW turns up the heat. By filing complaints and publicly releasing thousands of federal documents obtained through lawsuits, CREW ensures government officials who haven’t done their jobs are held responsible.
Citizens for responsibility and ethiCs in Washington

we ensure politiCians take responsibility for their aCtions

exposing influenCe

Percentage of FEC fines in 2011 resulting from CREW’s complaints

money and politics have never been more closely intertwined. thanks to the disastrous Citizens United decision and a federal election Commission (feC) asleep at the switch, an avalanche of money is barreling toward the 2012 election. while others talk, Crew acts. we’re watching lawmakers’ votes and calling them out when they appear to trade legislative action for campaign dollars. in 2011 alone, we released nine

pay-to-play reports. Crew has gone to court to fight the feC’s inaction. with five of the six feC commissioners serving despite expired terms, we’re pushing for president obama to replace them. we’ve filed 41 feC complaints against those who have violated campaign finance laws. Crew is working to get the money out of politics because ideas — not cash — should win elections.

opening government
CREW is changing the way government works, exposing millions of pages of federal records to public scrutiny and forcing government bureaucrats to be more responsive to the public. Why was the Department of Education so cozy with Wall Street investors? Why does the Securities and Exchange Commission routinely destroy its investigation files? Using the Freedom of Information Act and lawsuits, CREW’s finding answers and arming citizens and journalists with the information needed to call for change. Forcing the government to hand over records is just part of CREW’s goal. Through our partnership with social publishing company ScribD, CREW makes all documents we receive searchable and shareable. This way, everyone can read them and, perhaps, uncover something we missed.

Number of times CREW’s documents have been read on ScribD

we expose ethiCs violations that abuse the publiC’s trust

In Washington, people are often hesitant to call out the powerful for their misdeeds. From politicians who abuse their office for personal gain or that of family or friends, to others who favor special interests over their own constituents, there are plenty of examples of what’s wrong in Washington. We deserve better from our elected officials, and CREW is forcing them to clean up their act.
Citizens for responsibility and ethiCs in Washington

Crew’s most Corrupt
Washington is full of hard-working, ethical politicians. It’s the rotten apples who give all the others a bad name. Since 2005, we’ve focused on the worst of the worst in CREW’s Most Corrupt Members of Congress report. More than half of those we’ve named in past years are no longer serving. This year, a startling 14 of the 19 members on the list appear for the first time; six are House freshmen. Their misdeeds run the gamut from accepting bribes to lying on personal financial disclosure forms to violating campaign finance laws. The public noticed. When we released our report, traffic to CREW’s website increased 1,634 percent. Several of these crooked members are under investigation. We’ll keep after them.

Number of news stories generated by CREW’s Most Corrupt report

demanding aCCountability

Members of Congress CREW has filed ethics complaints against since 2004

the notion that Congress should police itself is enshrined in our Constitution. unfortunately, even members who claim to be “constitutionalists” don’t push this. since Crew’s founding in 2003, we’ve been Congress’ conscience, filing ethics complaints against lawmakers who abuse the public’s trust. we’re equal opportunity antagonists. from rep. laura richardson (d-Ca) to rep. vern buchanan (r-fl) and everyone in

between, we hold all politicians accountable, regardless of political party. Crew is also fighting for your voice to be included in the congressional ethics process. we worked for the creation of the office of Congressional ethics, which — unlike the house ethics Committee — accepts complaints filed by citizens. when republicans won control of the house in 2010 and threatened to shut the office down, Crew’s vocal opposition helped save it.

There is a lot of talk about what’s wrong with Washington; CREW is working to make it right. Through policy reforms and legal victories, we are systematically changing the way our government works. We’re uncovering the secrets of the past and pushing for reforms to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. With each passing day, we’re building a better Washington.
Citizens for responsibility and ethiCs in Washington

we are building the washington every Citizen deserves

fixing the system

Number of FOIA requests filed by CREW in 2011

Chief among Crew’s reconstruction projects are the pillars of government itself. through years of regulatory neglect, inefficiency and intransigence, key parts of our government have developed structural flaws. Crew’s lawsuits against the securities and exchange Commission will help better protect the public from abuses by the financial industry. we’re also applying pressure to the department of Justice, demanding to know why crooked

politicians like former reps. tom delay (r-tx) and John murtha (d-pa) (among others) avoided criminal prosecution. Crew is also beating back attempts by the u.s. Chamber of Commerce to convince Congress to weaken the foreign Corrupt practices act. like most americans, we think everyone should play by the rules; bribing foreign officials to gain a business advantage should remain illegal. we’re fixing the foundation that washington was built upon.

developing solutions
With Congress’ approval ratings at an all-time low, there’s nowhere to go but up. Democracy requires an honest government. We’re working with leaders of both parties to strengthen anti-corruption laws aimed at dishonest officeholders and the people who try to buy them. CREW is pushing for practical legislation like the Shareholder Protection Act, which requires stockholder approval before corporate funds can be spent to influence our elections. CREW is standing up for common sense in court. We filed a brief exposing unintended consequences of the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act, and we’re arguing that members of Congress can’t hide their criminal conduct behind the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution. Our plan to build the Washington we deserve starts from the ground up and from the inside out.

Number of times Melanie Sloan has been called a “Great American” on the Senate floor

General Administrative Expenses

Total Program Expenses Development Expenses

summary statement
Activities for the 12 Months Ended December 31, 2010

Total Revenue & Support $2,695,137

Education (Research & Communications) Legal Colorado Ethics Watch Total Program General Administrative Development Total Expenses Change in Net Assets Net Assets, Beginning of Period 1,324,806 726,860 290,252 2,341,918 364,773 156,909 2,863,600 (168,463) 2,895,708 2,727,245

net assets, end of period

The above information should be read in conjunction with CREW’s financial statements for the 12 months ending December 31, 2010, from which the summarized information is derived.

The decisions of our elected officials in Washington have far-reaching impact. Too often, those in power are focused on what is best for the favored few rather than on improving the lives of all Americans. Crew is leading the fight for increased government transparency and accountability inside the Beltway and beyond. We accomplish this through high-impact legal actions, exhaustively investigated reports, and aggressive public outreach. By holding those in power accountable for their actions, Crew serves as a critical watchdog and important voice for ordinary citizens who believe Washington can do better.

Crew speaks for you


citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington


“ An informed electorate is the best defense against corrupt political deals. Keep informed a little more with CREW.”
Larry, California

CREW & You

“ CREW is the best at watching and reporting ALL who think they’re above the law in Washington, DC.”
Karen, Oklahoma

“ CREW, you have renewed my faith that there is someone looking out for us — YOU.”
Deborah, Florida

You Can HElp CREW build a bEttER WasHington
CREW is standing on the front lines, holding our elected officials accountable. We have the tenacity to fight for the Washington you deserve. A donation to CREW sends a clear message that you demand more from your government. Donate today and help us build a better Washington.

Whether you send a check to CREW or contribute online at citizensforethics.org/ donate, you can be sure you will receive the maximum bang for your buck.

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If you would prefer to contribute using a credit card or to set up a reoccurring debit, please visit our website at citizensforethics.org/donate. CREW is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization. All donations to CREW are tax-deductible.

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