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Watchdog Files FEC Complaint Against Super PACs Tied to Lawmakers

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By    |   Thursday, 15 July 2021 01:16 PM EDT

A nonpartisan watchdog group has accused PACs with close ties to congressional leaders of violating election laws, it was announced Thursday.

The Campaign Legal Center filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against 23 super PACs, including 18 "pop-up" super PACs that collectively poured $200 million into competitive elections from 2017 to 2020, the group said on its website.

The super PACs, launched before key elections with names that suggested local ties — "Keep Kentucky Great" and "Texas Forever" — allegedly hid their ties to Washington groups.

The CLC said that by releasing their ads just before voters went to the polls, the super PACs delayed revealing their donors until after Election Day. That helped conceal their connections to Washington leaders.

"Beginning in the 2017 U.S. Senate special election in Alabama and continuing through the 2018 and 2020 election cycles," spokesman Brendan Quinn wrote on the CLC website, "these super PACs would 'pop-up' in a state or district with a competitive congressional race, often in the final leg of the race, and spend heavily in an attempt to influence voters."

The complaint states that the super PACs were funded by groups such as Senate Majority PAC, affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Leadership Fund, affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The complaint said the super PACs violated election rules that require political committees to disclose their ties to affiliated groups.

Adav Noti, the CLC’s’s senior director of trial litigation and chief of staff, issued a statement saying the campaign tactic should prompt a "firm crackdown by the FEC."

"Senior leaders of both parties have been steering money from wealthy special interests to front groups specifically designed to trick voters," Noti said, according to The Hill.

"Voters have a right to know when big money is flowing into their elections from D.C.-based groups hiding their agendas and funding behind fake names."

The complaint accused the Senate Leadership Fund of spending $38 million to influence January’s Georgia Senate runoffs through a group called Peachtree PAC. The super PAC also supported a group that meddled in last year's Democrat primary for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina.

The Schumer-aligned Senate Majority PAC used a similar strategy to influence last year’s Republican Senate primary in Kansas. Ads by a group called Sunflower State were bankrolled by the super PAC, according to the complaint.

Axios reported such PACs already have emerged for the 2022 midterms.

Jake Ellzey, a moderate Republican candidate in a House special election in Texas, has received huge backing from a super PAC called the Elect Principled Veterans Fund – which has gotten all of its funding from a group called With Honor Fund, according to an FEC filing submitted on Thursday.

With Honor Fund hasn't disclosed donors this year, but its top supporters in 2020 were Michael Bloomberg and the parents of Jeff Bezos, Axios said.

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Politics
A nonpartisan watchdog group has accused PACs with close ties to congressional leaders of violating election laws, it was announced Thursday. The Campaign Legal Center filed a Federal Election Commission complaint...
watchdog, fec, complaint, super pac, elections
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2021-16-15
Thursday, 15 July 2021 01:16 PM
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