Politico: Undisclosed dollars dominate campaign spending
That is a “misunderstanding of the law,” charged Paul S. Ryan, an executive at the Campaign Legal Center, a group fighting to stem the flow of big money into politics. It intends to file a complaint with the FEC alleging that Correct the Record is violating a broader coordination prohibition in an adjacent section of the law, which defines coordination as “expenditures made by any person in cooperation, consultation, or concert, with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, his authorized political committees, or their agents.”
Pointing out that Correct the Record ― like many of the other 2016 super PACs ― was created expressly to support a presidential campaign, Ryan argued in an email that “every penny it spends is arguably/potentially an illegal coordinated expenditure.”
But Ryan’s outfit and other election watchdog groups have not found an immediately receptive audience among regulators at the FEC, the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department for more than a dozen complaints they’ve filed to date alleging that various presidential candidates and their big-money allies have flouted different campaign finance or tax rules.
In a letter to the Justice Department, Ryan’s group and another government watchdog called for an investigation into a nonprofit group formed by Marco Rubio’s allies called Conservative Solutions Project. The group has spent $9.5 million on ads touting the Florida senator, according to records compiled by a nonpartisan media tracking and competitive analysis company called The Tracking Firm.
But it is registered under a section of the tax code ― 501(c)(4) ― that allows it to entirely shield its donors’ identities. That section is intended for groups that pursue a social welfare mission and the complaint from Ryan’s group alleges the use of it by Rubio’s allies “presents an especially clear-cut and egregious example of flaunting of the tax code.”
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