FACT Files Complaint Against DCCC for Illegal, Excessive Contributions to Clinton Campaign, House Ca
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against a number of Democratic House candidates, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Hillary for America. The complaints allege that all of these entities committed egregious and unlawful campaign finance violations involving the use of so called “hybrid” campaign television ads.
In a number of congressional races around the country, the DCCC and Democratic congressional candidates are jointly running ads tying their Republican opponent to Donald Trump by attacking Donald Trump. As reported recently in Politico, the DCCC is using these so called “hybrid ads” as a way to infuse extra funds into House races. FACT’s complaint maintains that these ads are anything but hybrid in nature because they don’t give a generic reference to candidates of a particular party, which is crucial to the concept of hybrid advertisements. For example, a proper ad of this nature would call out “Democrats” or “Republicans” more broadly. In these instances, however, the party reference is replaced with an explicit attack on Donald Trump.
According to the complaint, these ads:
“contain no discernible portion that can be reasonably characterized as benefiting the Democratic Party’s congressional candidates as a whole. There is no message in support of the Democratic Party’s congressional candidates, and no message in opposition to the Republican Party’s congressional candidates. Never before has a party committee substituted the accepted ‘generic party reference’ in its portion of a hybrid advertisement with material that does nothing more than reference and attack a single candidate, who, in this case, is presidential candidate Donald Trump. As a result, the costs of these advertisements are not properly attributed between the clearly identified congressional candidate and the DCCC, because the only persons who may reasonably expect to derive any benefit from this advertisement are [the congressional candidate] and Hillary Clinton.”
“The DCCC isn’t exploiting a loophole, they are breaking the law. The FEC is clear in that hybrid ads do not allow for the defeat of a particular candidate as a substitution for the standard ‘generic party reference’,” said Matthew Whitaker, Executive Director, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT). “This is a blatant, coordinated attempt to pour millions of dollars of unregulated party money into an effort to help elect congressional Democrats and Hillary Clinton.”
FACT is filing the complaint against the following Democratic congressional candidates (click on name to read FACT's complaint in full):
Tom Nelson (WI-08)
Steve Santarsiero (PA-08)
Suzanna Shkreli (MI-08)
Ruben Kihuen (NV-04)
Jim Mowrer (IA-03)
Stephanie Murphy (FL-07)
Colleen Deacon (NY-24)
Michael Eggman (CA-10)
Pete Gallego (TX-23)
Doug Applegate (CA-49)
Bryan Caforio (CA-25)
Morgan Carroll (CO-06)
FACT concludes that the DCCC’s payment for this advertising constitutes an in-kind contribution to the above candidates and is subject to the national party committee’s contribution limit of $5,000 per election. Additionally, given the close and ongoing coordination occurring between the DCCC and Hillary for America, these candidates and the DCCC have also paid for a public communication that should constitute an in-kind contribution to Hillary for America.