A nonpartisan watchdog group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission to spur a federal probe of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The Democratic candidate’s campaign fraudulently received millions of dollars worth of “research” services from an outside super-PAC, Correct the Record.
The Campaign Legal Center accused Trump’s camp of similar infringements. Reportedly, the Republican presidential candidate has also violated the U.S. laws that prohibit “coordination” with outside groups.
However, the findings on Clinton and the outside group which belongs to an avid Clinton backer, David Brock, is more likely to make the headlines. Ironically, Clinton often pushed for a finance reform.
In her speeches, she repeatedly pledged to “curb the influence of big money in American politics.” Plus, she vowed to overturn Citizens United, a SCOTUS decision that opened the floodgates to unlimited donations to U.S. politicians.
Correct the Record reportedly raised the money for this presidential campaign from hedge-fund managers, rich donors, and plaintiff’s attorneys. Larry Noble, who worked 13 years for the FEC as adviser, described the group as Clinton camp’s “parallel shadow.” Noble noted the group trains people for Clinton and conducts research for her.
Clinton camp deemed the recent complaint a “frivolous lawsuit.” Correct the Record criticized the legal action in a similar tone calling it “ridiculous.” The group pointed out that there was a similar complaint against it last year.
A spokesperson for the group said the super-PAC’s coordination activities with Clinton’s camp were perfectly legal. The group explained they have done communications with Clinton staffers exclusively through the Internet. And these types of communications are not illegal under the U.S. campaign finance rules.
Unlike other super-PACs, the group doesn’t campaign for Clinton in traditional ways i.e. by performing attacks on her political opponents on television. Instead, it leads its anti-Trump campaigns online. For instance, it has sponsored a tabloid cover showing the Republican candidate and Russia president Vladimir Putin have a “bromance.”
The Campaign Legal Center, however, claims that the super-PAC did not restrict its activities to sponsored Internet trolling. The watchdog says Correct the Record has hired a polling firm just to proclaim Clinton the winner in a Sanders debate. It also used trackers to record political adversaries in the Democratic primaries.
Additionally, it hired 30 persons to help Clinton answer sensitive questions on the Benghazi issue during a congressional hearing; poured more than $390,000 in Clinton surrogates’ training on media matters; pledged to spend $1 million to hire people that can confront social media users with anti-Clinton views; and cashed in $275,000 from Clinton last year for the so-called opposition research.
The Campaign Legal Center bases its allegations on campaign fillings and media reports.
In addition, the super-PAC received generous donations which exceeded the $2,700 limit under the federal law. Priorities USA Action made a $1 million donation and a Wall Street hedge fund’s research arm, Renaissance Technologies, donated $500,000.
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