The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is wondering why an electronic identifier on a political ad points to its rival National Republican Congressional Committee, and it’s preparing to take a complaint to the Federal Election Commission. Normally, there is no problem with NRCC identifying its work. But this ad comes from a independent conservative political group called Freedom’s Watch. And according to the rules, Freedom’s Watch cannot coordinate in any way with candidates.
The ads in question pertain to a congressional race in Louisiana. DCCC is expecting to run ads there. NRCC is free to do so as well, but the scandal-ridden Republican committee, which is part of an FBI embezzling investigation (which would make it a victim), is well behind the DCCC in cash on hand.
According to the Washington Post, the individual who put the ad together is a former NRCC employee, and he claims he inadvertently used an NRCC template for the current project.
RBR/TVBR observation: Good luck to the DCCC getting any satisfaction at FEC. The official election watchdog currently has only two of six commission seats filled and is virtually incapable of taking any kind of action. All of which should add a whole new element to the elections this year. The rules are still the rules, but it will be hard to get viable FEC interpretations of them as the process goes forward. And if any violations are committed, enforcement may not take place until a year or three later. So it will be interesting to see just how far third party groups will be willing to go, and how much future risk they are willing to accept to run ads on the edge now.