A Super PAC affiliated with Sen. Chuck Schumer’s, D-N.Y., was hit with an ethics complaint on Monday after allegations that the PAC illegally coordinated with Iowa Democrat in her bid for Senate.
According to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), the Schumer-affiliated Senate Majority PAC acted illegally when it produced and released an ad for Theresa Greenfield.
The Super PAC-funded T.V. ad violated election laws because it mirrored language from the Greenfield campaign website and used video footage produced by Greenfield’s campaign, the watchdog group said in their filing. The complaint was filed after a Washington Free Beacon investigative report on the origins of the television ad.
Several federal candidates have used their campaign websites to request outside organizations, with which they are prohibited from coordinating, produce and run television advertisements on their behalf. The requests are conveyed in a specific format, i.e. using a campaign webpage entitled ‘Important Update,’ identifying the information with specific ‘code words’ such as ‘Iowa voters need to hear about,’ and linking to a PDF document that is designed to provide the information and citations for the substance of the advertisement, which all appear to be in the same format. The purpose and effect are clear: to give specific instructions, information, and graphic campaign materials to outside organizations to run advertisements beneficial to their campaign.
The T.V. ad was part of a one million dollar campaign effort meant to boost Greenfield’s campaign, which was announced by the Super PAC in late February.
The complaint continues:
There is reason to believe Greenfield and Theresa Greenfield for Iowa solicited and accepted an illegal contribution from Senate Majority PAC by coordinating communications valued at over $1 million. Facts demonstrating coordination are: Greenfield made the request for the advertisement in a known format designed to convey the request, the request was acted on within a short amount of time, and the advertisement conveyed the requested information and republished the provided campaign materials.
The ad was part of a well-funded Democratic establishment effort to unseat Sen. Joni Ernst, R-I.A., in the November general election.
Greenfield, a Des Moines-area businesswoman, is one of four Democrats competing to take on Ernst, but she’s received the most support among national Democratic groups.
Greenfield has framed herself as an anti-corruption advocate, and has accused Ernst of being beholden to non-Iowa “dark money” groups.
Ernst is seen as a top target for Democrats next fall, though the Republican senator enjoys a high approval rating in multiple polls.
You can see the ad in question for yourself here: