Advocacy groups file complaint against GOP Senate candidate

AP News

A campaign finance watchdog and a gun-safety advocacy group on Monday asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate allegations of illegal campaign coordination between Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Rosendale of Montana and the National Rifle Association.

The Campaign Legal Center and the group Giffords say in their FEC complaint that Rosendale knew about and agreed to the NRA lobbying arm’s plans to buy $404,496 in ads to criticize the last three Supreme Court confirmation votes cast by Rosendale’s opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana.

The allegation was made after The Daily Beast posted an audio recording of Rosendale last week answering a question about outside groups’ spending in his campaign by saying “I fully expect that the NRA is going to come in.” Rosendale said in the July recording that Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, told him the gun-rights group planned to enter the race and the Supreme Court confirmations “sent the NRA over the line.”

Outside organizations can spend unlimited amounts to influence elections if they operate independently of candidates. But it’s illegal to coordinate spending or communications with the candidate.

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