Ad watch: Wagner’s campaign, D.C. nonprofit spar over legality of campaign mailer

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

A Washington-based nonprofit called "Care in Action" has sent thousands of mailers to St. Louis County residents criticizing incumbent Republican Rep. Ann Wagner on immigration issues, just weeks before the nationally watched 2nd District election. 

The Wagner campaign says one mailer in particular that claims she is “complicit in the separation of families” and cites her yes vote this year on a border security and immigration reform bill is illegal, because it fails to include a statement identifying who paid for it.  

Erin Chlopak, legal counsel of campaign finance with the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center and former acting associate general counsel at the FEC, says the mailers appear to be an independent expenditure. But she acknowledged that it's a "fuzzy" area of campaign finance law in which there is disagreement among FEC commissioners as to how explicit an ad has to be to "expressly advocate."

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