Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill was hit with a complaint by an ethics group that claims she violated campaign finance laws based on an admission from an excerpt in her book "Plenty Ladylike" published in Politico.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) over McCaskill's claim that she tried to influence the outcome of the Republican primary when she shared polling information with Todd Akin's campaign in 2012, CNN
In the excerpt
, the Missouri Democrat said that she helped Akin win the Republican primary by spending $40,000 on polling Missouri Republicans and shared the information with Akin's campaign.
Under federal election law, in-kind campaign donations can't exceed $2,500. The FACT complaint says that by sharing the polling data with Akin, that amounted to an in-kind donation.
"Senator McCaskill did not simply meddle in another party's primary, rather she crossed the legal line and made a prohibited donation in violation of federal law," Matthew Whitaker, executive director of the conservative government watchdog group, wrote in the FEC complaint.
According to CNN, McCaskill's aides are dismissing the allegations, saying that election laws were not broken and that her campaign never shared the polling data with Akin's campaign.
"This is just silly. If there was something to hide, I'm pretty sure that it would not have been included in the book," McCaskill's spokesman John LaBombard told CNN.
Rick Hasen, law professor at University of California at Irvine, wrote on his Election Law Blog
that "If she gave the campaign something worth more than the limit (which was probably $2,600 in that election) she'd be giving an in-kind contribution, and a contribution worth that much would have to be reported."
"Well did the Senator give Akin something of value? It looks like it," Hasen wrote.
"After all, we know it is valuable to him because the Senator writes 'Akin did not have money for polling,' and she provided the information he needed to clinch the primary (at least in the Senator's telling)."
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