FACT Calls for FEC to Investigate Sara Gideon (Maine) and Senate Majority PAC
Evidence Suggests Gideon and Senate Majority PAC Engaged in Illegal Coordination
Washington, D.C.— September 16, 2020— Today, the non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to seek investigation into Sara Gideon, who is currently running for U.S. Senate in Maine, and Senate Majority PAC for illegal coordination.
On September 1, the communications director for Sara Gideon’s campaign, tweeted that voters in Maine needed "to see and hear" two extremely specific political messages and in which media market they should be aired. The first requested ad was to run throughout Maine telling voters that Sen. Susan Collins voted for tax breaks for prescription drug companies and the other was to be run just in Portland tying Collins to President Trump.
Not coincidentally, on the very next day, Senate Majority PAC put both ads (“Too Much” and “No Thanks”) on the air matching the content and target markets that Gideon’s communications director suggested on Twitter.
Under federal law, candidates are prohibited from coordinating with super PACs on advertising. To determine whether a communication was made in cooperation with a candidate, a three-part test applies: (1) the communication was paid for by a third-party; (2) the communication satisfies a “content” standard; and (3) the communication satisfies one of the “conduct” standards. FACT’s filing shows all three standards were plainly met.
“Our filing clearly demonstrates that Sara Gideon’s campaign and Senate Majority PAC engaged in illegal coordination. As outlined in the complaint, the parties involved violated all three legal prongs of the test used by the FEC to determine coordination, therefore Senate Majority PAC’s actions appear to constitute an illegal in-kind contribution to the Gideon campaign. The Commission must act swiftly to hold the respondents accountable and deter future violations of federal law--otherwise super PACs and candidates will be able to coordinate in plain view,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.
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/