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Ethics Watchdog Files FEC Complaint Against Rep. Barbara Lee & Her Super PAC Over Campaign Ad

Evidence Shows Rep. Lee Coordinated with Super PAC on Advertising for U.S. Senate Campaign

 

Washington, D.C. --- Today, the non-partisan ethics watchdog the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed a complaint requesting the Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigate whether Rep. Barbara Lee of California and her Senate campaign coordinated with the super PAC, She Speaks for Me, on advertising resulting in an illegal contribution violating the Federal Election Campaign Act.


In 2023, Rep. Lee posted campaign videos on her website and social media accounts that contained video footage and still photographs. The super PAC, She Speaks for Me, took the campaign’s language and materials and used them to make a video advertisement supporting Rep. Lee, which it released on November 7th, 2023. The following day, Rep. Lee’s campaign directly disseminated the super PAC’s video ad on her campaign social media account. As the complaint (linked to below) clearly lays out, this coordination between Rep. Lee and the super PAC, She Speaks for Me, resulted in an obvious illegal contribution on several levels.


Federal law prohibits any person from making, and any candidate or committee from knowingly accepting, a contribution in excess of the federal law’s limits. Illegal contributions can be in the form of in-kind contributions, coordination with super PACs, and super PACs republishing campaign materials, all of which are implicated in this case.

 

“A super PAC’s ability to solicit unlimited donations from individuals and corporations is wholly dependent on the fact that they don’t make contributions to, or coordinate with, candidates. Here, in an almost unprecedented action, Rep. Lee has taken an advertisement that was made in support of her by a super PAC (that used her original source material) and directly disseminated the content in the same way she would an advertisement her campaign actually created. The campaign laws simply do not allow this. While some candidates attempt to operate in the extremely murky realm of co-existence between campaigns and super PACs that the FEC has created, this certainly appears to be a plain, clear, and egregious violation. We hope this matter is reviewed quickly by the FEC and dealt with appropriately,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.


A full copy of the complaint can be found HERE.


FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit http://www.factdc.org/

 

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