Press Release

New Report Implicates Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in Suspected Pay-for-Play Scheme

CrewWASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Center for Consumer Freedom announced the release of a new report exposing Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s (CREW) suspected pay-to-play arrangements with the for-profit education industry. Our new report, “Bad Education,” uncovers new IRS filings that suggest CREW is guilty of the same pay-to-play practices it decries when committed by other groups.

Click here to view the report.

Between 2010 and 2011, IRS reports show that CREW received $150,000 from a non-profit connected to John Sperling, the late liberal billionaire whose for-profit education company owns the University of Phoenix. Around this time, CREW started attacking proposed regulations from the U.S. Department of Education that would tighten reporting requirements on the for-profit education industry. Some left-leaning reporters suspected—but until now could not prove—that CREW secretly accepted money from the for-profit education industry to attack the rules.

These specific details about CREW and the money trail in the for-profit education battle are all previously unreported, since they are based on documents that weren’t available in 2010.

Until its recent merger with Media Matters, CREW claimed the mantle of non-partisan transparency group, even though it overwhelmingly attacked center-right groups and refused to disclose its own donors. In the past, we’ve tracked CREW’s hypocrisy extensively at Our new report is the latest chapter in CREW’s sordid saga.

“When it comes to CREW’s priorities, money matters more than media matters,” said Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom. “If you thought it couldn’t get any worse than the shotgun marriage between David Brock and Melanie Sloan, you’d be wrong. CREW has outed itself not only as a partisan attack dog, but also as an apparent shill for corporations in the for-profit education industry.”

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. For more information, visit


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