Watchdogs: Dem Super PAC ‘Hardly Operating Independently’ From Campaigns Watchdogs: Dem Super PAC ‘Hardly Operating Independently’ From Campaigns – NTK Network

Watchdogs: Dem Super PAC ‘Hardly Operating Independently’ From Campaigns

A new report from Politico, on the activity of Democratic campaigns for U.S. Senate, calls into question the wink-and-nod coordination between campaigns and the liberal Senate Majority PAC.

By NTK Staff | 06.20.2018 @10:00am
Watchdogs: Dem Super PAC ‘Hardly Operating Independently’ From Campaigns

A new report from Politico, out Tuesday, calls into question the conduct of some Democratic campaigns for U.S. Senate and the Chuck Schumer-aligned super PAC, Senate Majority PAC (SMP).

Politico‘s James Arkin reported that SMP is echoing campaigns’ claims about their candidates, which a watchdog attorney said was “hardly operating independently in any reasonable understanding of term.”

Coordination between campaigns and outside groups is illegal, though both parties’ election lawyers regularly give candidates a green light to evade that ban by sharing information in the public domain — for example, posting long YouTube clips clearly meant for use by friendly super PACs. Now, McCaskill and other Democratic senators are pushing the limits by essentially posting instruction manuals on how they prefer allied groups to attack their opponents, which super PACs have then turned into ads in within a matter of days or weeks.

…“It certainly appears as if Senate Majority PAC is acting as a megadonor-funded vehicle to channel the views of the candidate that they’re supporting,” [Campaign Legal Center’s Brendan] Fischer said. “They may still be operating independently as a legal matter, but hardly operating independently in any reasonable understanding of term.”

Arkin cites conduct from the campaigns of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Jon Tester (D-MT) as toeing the line.

This is no dollars-and-cents operation, either. SMP will be a key factor in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate, with an announcement this month that they have reserved $80 million in fall TV airtime to defend their incumbents and put Democratic challengers over the finish line.

With this latest report, it may be fair to ask: how much of the $80 million will be spent on ads that reflect questionable coordination between SMP and Democratic campaigns?

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