CLC Files Complaint Against Pop-Up Super PAC For Coordination with Renacci Campaign
WASHINGTON – Today, the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint against the super PAC MeToo Ohio for unlawfully coordinating with an Ohio U.S. Senate candidate’s campaign through the use of a common vendor and for using an evasive scheme to keep voters in the dark about its sources of funding.
On October 11, Jim Renacci’s campaign launched only its second ad of the entire general election — its first ad since June — and on the same day, a newly-formed super PAC called MeToo Ohio launched a new ad that was strikingly consistent in theme, tone, and style, including references to the same excerpted court documents and similar visuals.
Campaign finance law limits coordination between candidates and outside groups like MeToo Ohio. In order to preserve their independence, FEC rules limit how a vendor may work for both a candidate and an outside group supporting that candidate, yet both the super PAC and the Renacci campaign were paying the same vendor, a Florida-based company called Majority Strategies.
“It cannot be a coincidence that both the Renacci campaign and MeToo Ohio launched ads on the same day, hitting the same themes, using similar visuals, and with both the campaign and super PAC using the same political consulting firm,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal reform program at CLC. “There is more than enough evidence here to prompt an FEC investigation into unlawful coordination.”
Additionally, MeToo Ohio’s financial backers remain largely undisclosed. The super PAC has reported raising far less than it has spent, and is claiming that Majority Strategies extended six figures in credit to produce and disseminate the pro-Renacci ads. (Moreover, its only reported contributor is a dark money entity that keeps its donors secret.)
The model for the evasive maneuver to keep voters in the dark that MeToo employed was pioneered by a Democratic super PAC in 2017. This scheme spurred a CLC complaint that is still pending before the FEC. Similarly, another super PAC backing Renacci, Ohio First PAC, adopted a similar scheme, which also prompted a CLC complaint.