Salem News: Expert: Moulton's ties to super PAC 'pushing the envelope'


Paul Ryan, an attorney at the Campaign Legal Center, a government watchdog group, said the use of campaign photos by a Super PAC supporting the candidate is a violation of election rules.

“Federal law prohibits the republication of campaign materials from outside groups, even if the candidate didn’t know about it,” he said. “And it doesn’t matter if the materials were grabbed off a website, which might be considered to be in the public domain. It’s still a violation.”

Still, Ryan said, FEC rules allow a host of questionable interactions between candidates and Super PACs.

Politicians may raise money for super PACs and even appear at events, Ryan said, so long as they don’t ask for donations larger than the allowable limits on direct contributions to a campaign.

He said the FEC has been fighting in court for years to defend its definition of illegal coordination between a candidate and Super PAC. The Campaign Legal Center and other watchdog groups say the FEC's definition is too narrow, and in some cases contradicts the law.

“Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any appetite in Congress or the FEC to strengthen the campaign finance laws,” he said. “Until that happens, candidate-specific super PACs will continue to provide an easy end-run around federal contribution limits.”

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