A Democratic group says it will file a formal complaint with federal regulators against three Republican organizations after a CNN investigation revealed that they shared internal polling data before the midterm elections by posting the information on anonymous Twitter accounts. The liberal advocacy group American Democracy Legal Fund alleged in a complaint meant to be filed Monday to the Federal Election Commission that the National Republican Congressional Committee, the American Action Network and American Crossroads broke federal rules that prohibit coordination between campaign committees and outside groups. “The NRCC and outside groups appear to have engaged in illegal coordination through sharing internal polling data,” according to the complaint, which was provided to CNN by American Democracy Legal Fund. “By hiding their communications on a public website, Respondents intentionally tried to create a loophole in the coordination rules. Such an intentional effort to knowingly flout campaign finance laws cannot be condoned.”
The complaint is based on a CNN report that detailed how the groups provided valuable polling data by posting it on Twitter accounts in a secret code. Even though the posts were gibberish without the code, posting the information on a public website could have provided a work-around to FEC anti-coordination rules and regulations that require outside polling data shared with campaign committees to be reported as a donation. Coordination could allow campaigns, which cannot accept unlimited donations, to unfairly use the resources of outside groups, which can accept unlimited and anonymous donations.
But the American Democracy Legal Defense Funda complaint argues that since the Twitter accounts could only be found and understood by those with prior knowledge of their existence, the activities don’t meet the threshold of being considered “public.” Further, according to the complaint, allowing the tactic would “send a dangerous message to candidates” that they can skirt election rules by encrypting the information shared.
Full Article: FEC complaint citizens united – CNN.com.