Complaint accuses Hawley campaign, NRA of federal law violation


 A complaint filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission accused Josh Hawley's Senate campaign and the National Rifle Association of illegal collaboration.

According to the complaint, Hawley's campaign and the NRA's Political Victory Fund violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by cooperating "in an elaborate scheme designed to evade detection of violations of the [FEC's] common vendor coordination rules." Specifically, the complaint said "there is reason to believe that the NRA-PVF made illegal, unreported, and excessive in-kind contributions to Josh Hawley for Senate in the form of coordinated violation of FECA’s source prohibitions, reporting requirements, and contribution limits."

OnMessage, Inc., a strategy firm, allegedly moved the NRA-PFV's funds supporting Hawley through a shell corporation, Starboard Strategic, Inc. The NRA-PVF then apparently placed its pro-Hawley ads using National Media Research and Planning, LLC, at the same time Hawley's campaign used National Media to place its own ads. According to the filing, in at least one case, the ad placements happened on the same day.

The complaint was filed by the Campaign Legal Center, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. According to the center's website, the CLC aims to hold "candidates and government officials accountable regardless of political affiliation."

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