Skip to comments.Watchdog groups to file complaint against Montana candidate alleging coordination with NRA
Posted on 09/14/2018 11:38:44 AM PDT by yesthatjallen
Campaign finance watchdog groups are planning to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission asking it to investigate whether Montana GOP Senate nominee Matt Rosendale and the National Rifle Association were illegally coordinating in the race.
The Campaign Legal Center and Giffords, the nonprofit political arm of former Rep. Gabby Giffordss (D-Ariz.) organization, said that theyre filing the complaint on Friday or on Monday.
The complaint is being filed after a Daily Beast story published audio it obtained that suggests Rosendale knew the NRA would be involved in the marquee Senate race, saying it had obtained it from an unspecified July event in Washington, D.C.
Campaign finance law bars groups that make independent expenditures from coordinating on spending with a candidate. But candidates are allowed to court groups like the NRA for their endorsements.
In the audio recording, an unidentified man is heard asking Have outside groups been spending money on your behalf?
Rosendale, whos challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), responds saying he had been told that the NRA would step into the race and would be involved "in August sometime."
I fully expect the NRA is going to come in in August sometime. The Supreme Court confirmations are big. Thats what sent the NRA over the line, Rosendale says.
But it's unclear which specific involvement or activity from the NRA Rosendale is referring to.
Rosendale adds that the Supreme Court vacancy is a big issue thats leading to the NRA interest in the race.
Rosendale later said that Chris Cox, the NRAs top political strategist for its Institute for Legislative Action, conveyed to him the NRA's interest in getting involved.
Because in 12, with [Republican Senate nominee Denny Rehberg] they stayed out, they stayed out of Montana. But Chris Cox told me, hes like, Were going to be in this race, Rosendale said.
The NRA-ILA ended up launching a $400,000 TV ad buy in early September opposing Tester, taking aim at his record on guns and noting that he backed Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor and voted against confirming Justice Neil Gorsuch.
But the NRA also endorsed Rosendale around that same time.
Rosendales campaign is pushing back on what they call a baseless story, saying that the Republican state auditor was discussing how Rosendale had sought the NRAs endorsement, which is legal.
This is amusing desperation on Jon Testers part and it's completely baseless. The only thing this audio proves is that Matt sought the endorsement of the NRA and we're proud to have it, a Rosendale spokesman said in a statement.
Matt and the NRA have never discussed anything beyond the organizations membership and endorsement process. If Jon Tester is so desperate to save his seat, perhaps he should focus more on fighting for Montana and defending our Second Amendment rights rather than spreading lies about our campaign."
The NRA also categorically denied having discussed any coordination with the Rosendale campaign.
"At no time did NRA-ILA discuss any communications or activities beyond our membership with Matt Rosendale or his campaign. Any assertion otherwise is completely false," Jennifer Baker, director of NRA-ILA Public Affairs told The Hill in a statement.
However, one of the groups filing the complaint says it suspects Rosendale was referring to coordination between the NRA and the candidate's campaign.
The language that Rosendale uses in there seems clear to me to be an indication of coordination, said David Pucino, a lawyer who's involved in filing the FEC complaint on behalf of the group Giffords.
Pucino added that Rosendale seems to clearly indicate that they will be coming in and spending, which seems a clear discussion of coordination, not merely endorsing," pointing out how Rosendale had been responding to a question about whether outside groups had been spending money on the candidate's behalf.
But Brad Smith, a former Republican FEC commissioner who was nominated by President Clinton, said he doesn't believe this is coordination. He added that based on the transcript of the audio, it didnt appear that Rosendale and his campaign were involved in crafting the message of the ad.
Theres nobody following politics for more than 30 seconds that doesnt know that in Montana, gun rights and the Supreme Court nomination are going to be important issues, Smith told The Hill. It doesnt rise to that level of material involvement in the kind of plans of sharing information and working in concert.
Meanwhile, Testers campaign said in a statement that the Daily Beast story raises serious concerns and shows a troubling pattern of Rosendale on campaign finance laws.
"This audio raises serious concerns about potential illegal coordination between Matt Rosendale and an outside, dark money group coming into Montana to support him, said Chris Meagher, a Tester campaign spokesman.
At a minimum, this is just the latest in a troubling pattern of Matt Rosendale playing fast and loose with campaign finance laws."
Rosendale and Tester are squaring off in a competitive Senate race in a state that President Trump carried by about 20 points in 2016. As Republicans seek to defend their slim 51-seat majority, Montana could play a role in which party controls the Senate next session.
Tester’s internals must really suck...
They never investigated how Saudi Arabia paid 20% of hillary’s campaign costs.
Because the NRA is unpeople in liberal eyes, I have to own guns.
This seems like a major reach.
For instance....the liberal group filing THIS lawsuit!!!!!
Seems to me the nEa, Afl-CIO, Teamsters and MSM have been colluding with Democrats for decades on a far grander scale.
Attacking the NRA in California may be popular but Montana?
Hahhahaha. Why not just pull the pin on a Grenade and sit on it.
Gabby Giffords...just a half inch to the left!
Do they give these Dem candidates a book of phrases to use in every story about the opponent? “Raises serious concerns;” “shows a troubling pattern;” “playing fast and loose with campaign finance laws.” It reminds me of those fill in the blank Mad Libs games.
I'll bet that there is a lot more “dirty politics” on the Democratic Party side of the house.
And for old times sake we know from Wikileaks that the Hillary Victory Fund and the various State Democratic Parties engaged in money laundering, so maybe some fines and criminal actions should be requested in the Great State of Montana on that front as well.
“Gabby Giffords...just a half inch to the left!”
Not even that. If the lefty shooter had purchased hollow point instead of using plinking ammo.......
But then again, Gabby took a 9mm round to the noggin at point blank range. Maybe it wasn’t in the cards for her at that time.
Q: You know why gabby doesn’t ride in convertibles? A: her head whistles. haha
I have no sympathy for gabby for what she did to her constituents. I live in her district and she was a radical lefty who screwed us over every chance she got, and she’s still doing it.
The front group needs to raided and shut down .
I think its looking like a Ricco issue involving the DNC
and violating campaign finance laws .
This rag is a poorly disguised Dem front group.
I have a 2nd home in her district and shop at that Safeway. She always used to be semi-friendly to gun owners but it all turned out to be political fraud.
That is hilarious. I mean, citing the “Daily Beast” as if it is an actual news organization, and not a sadly non-self-aware parody site.
Jeez. “The NRA is going to come spend money here” is pretty much a statement of fact, not “coordination”.
I mean, I bet I can tell you what the NRA is going to focus on as well — gun rights. Oops, I let the cat out of the bag.
Goofy Gabby’s nutabunch league.
Had you ever considered that if Giffords had remained in congress, they would be running her for the senate as “a moderate” right now? As terrible as McSally is, that’s one worse scenario.
"DARK money group"? Isn't that racist? It's got to be at least a racist dog whistle. I think I was triggered. Where do I go to get my victim card punched?
Did this group mention anything about collusion between the Hillary campaign and Soros?
They can all go and reproduce asexually.
“Had you ever considered that if Giffords had remained in congress, they would be running her for the senate as a moderate right now? As terrible as McSally is, thats one worse scenario”
If she hadn’t got shot that would be a very likely scenario and I’m sure John the “Maverick” McCain would have fully endorsed her over the Republican who would likely support Trump.
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