Yesterday, Fox News had an exclusive about a pro-Trump PAC that has brought a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission for basically burying a complaint made against the Hillary Clinton campaign.
From the Fox News report:
The Committee to Defend the President (CDP), a political action committee formally known as Stop Hillary PAC, filed its complaint with the FEC in December 2017 with the claims that the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF) solicited cash from big-name donors, and allegedly sent that money through state chapters and back to the DNC before ending up with the Clinton campaign.
As first reported by Fox News at the time, the CDP alleges in its complaint that about $84 million was funneled illegally from the DNC through state party chapters and back into the war chest of the Clinton campaign. The political action committee claims that even though the FEC acknowledged receipt of the complaint and claimed that an investigation would be conducted, the needle has barely moved.
And as I read the article, I had this nagging feeling that I had written something about this back in 2016.
So I did a little searching. And sure enough, I found the post in question.
This was early November when WikiLeaks was still releasing batches from the Podesta emails.
And I happened across an email from Robby Mook that struck me as somewhat shady.
So I wrote a post titled Hillary hates Citizens United except when it benefits her.
Instead of just citing the post, I thought I’d just reprint it here in its entirety.
Now, as you read it, keep in mind this current lawsuit against the FEC.
Among the WikiLeaks Podesta Emails released today, I found a memo Robby Mook provided Hillary Clinton on how to exploit the “post-Citizens United” environment to their advantage.
This memo, “Some Options in Post-Citizens United Campaign Environment” was compiled by Team Hillary’s general counsel, Marc Elias.
In his email to Clinton, Mook wrote:
Attached is a memo Marc prepared on some issues related to superpacs and state parties we wanted to discuss with you next week, specifically (1) coordination of rapid response with Correct the Record; (2) coordination of some ads with Priorities; (3) use of state parties to defray costs; and (4) suing the FEC to compel action against Bush and Republican superpacs.
I’ve talked with Huma and Alex about finding a time that might be convenient for you. This is probably best to do in-person, but if your schedule doesn’t permit, we’ll arrange for a call.
Let us know if you have any questions in advance!
So, Team Clinton is trying to find ways to coordinate with Super PACS without violating Federal Election law. While at the same time they want to know the best way to sue Republicans for doing the same thing.
From Elias’ memo:
We have been working with your campaign to identify ways to attack efforts by opponents that, in our view, exceed the legal limits and also to identify legally permissible ways to leverage political party and outside groups to best advance the campaign’s interests.
Elias proceeds to outline loopholes within Federal election law that Team Clinton can use to their advantage.
Funny, isn’t it?
Hillary rails against the SCOTUS decision on Citizens United, but is more than happy to make the most of the decision if it benefits her campaign.
This memo shows ways that the Clinton Campaign can work in conjunction with Correct the Record and Priorities USA without violating the letter of the law.
Again, from the memo:
As noted above, federal law prohibits Super PACs from coordinating with campaigns on public communications that include words of express advocacy or the functional equivalent of express advocacy or that republish campaign materials. However, the plain language of FEC regulations suggest that a campaign may collaborate with a Super PAC on communications that lack express advocacy or its functional equivalent, do not republish campaign materials, and air more than 120 days before the primary in each state. We believe that such collaboration is legally permissible.
Now, Elias stipulates that they don’t know for a fact that this would be legal. But it appears they can legally get away with it.
While we believe that such a program is legally permissible, it would be breaking new ground – more so than what CTR is doing. As evidenced by the press scrutiny of CTR’s announcement, the media reaction to such a program could be toxic. In 2011, the FEC divided 3-to-3 on a request by American Crossroads to engage in a similar coordinated issue advocacy program; that division between the commissioners has persisted over the past four years. The FEC cannot find a violation without the support of four commissioners, so the ongoing deadlock reduces (though by no means eliminates) the likelihood of adverse action by the FEC.
In other words, even if somebody files a complaint, the 3/3 split on the FEC will reduce the likelihood that they’ll get in trouble.
And if political partisanship keeps you from getting into trouble, anything goes!
Isn’t that the Clinton Motto?
The last points of the memo deal with ways to pursue complaints against Republicans in case they do something similar to what Team Clinton is looking to do.
Problem is, those complaints take forever to resolve. And that won’t help Team Clinton from destroying a Republican candidate efficiently.
But fear not!
There is a way around it.
Though rarely used, there is a provision in the law that allows complainants to petition a federal court to compel the FEC to act. Within 120 days of filing a complaint with the FEC, the complainant may file a petition with the federal court if the FEC has either dismissed the complaint or failed to act on it.4 In response to such a petition, the court may declare that the FEC’s dismissal of the complaint or failure to act is contrary to law, and may order the FEC to conform with such a declaration within 30 days.5 If the FEC still fails to act in response to the court order, the complainant may bring a civil action to directly remedy the alleged violation.6
Of course there is a hitch.
Finally, there is the issue of retaliation for such a lawsuit. It should be expected that any lawsuit to force the FEC to enforce the law would lead to similar efforts on the other side. While we have done nothing wrong, it could still prove detrimental to the overall effort. If we proceed with this effort, we will take steps to ensure that any suit pursued on our side is on a topic that cannot easily be applied to any conduct on our side.
You got that?
They will only sue a Republican candidate if the complaint they’re lodging isn’t something Team Clinton themselves are doing.
Anybody else find this breathtakingly shitty?
Of course, when you consider that Hillary maintains both a public position and a private position, it really doesn’t come as a surprise.
It helps her among Liberal groups to rail against “dark money” in politics.
But that in no way is going to stop Hillary from making every effort to exploit “dark money” for her own political aspirations.
Okay, now we’re back to the present.
In hindsight it appears that this attempt to find legally gray areas and exploit the hell out of them might just be what this Pro-Trump PAC’s FEC complaint was all about.
Elias himself pins his hopes on a deadlocked FEC to prevent any complaint from being addressed.
And is that what happened here?
Clearly the complaint isn’t going anywhere so, as Elias himself explains, the pro-Trump PAC is filing a lawsuit.
The problem is, this was a route Elias wanted the Clinton campaign to use against Republicans.
And now it’s being used against them.
Between this emailed memo and what we know from Donna Brazile’s book, Hillary was using state parties to launder money into her campaign as a way to skirt campaign finance limits.
But that doesn’t surprise me in the least.
Let’s be honest. The whole purpose of this memo from the campaign’s attorney was finding ways around the law.
And that’s something Marc Elias can be counted on to do. After all, he’s the attorney from Perkins Coie who laundered the campaign payment to Fusion GPS to fund the dirty dossier.
And James Comey has the gall to accuse Trump of being a mob boss.
Now, I don’t know if this lawsuit will ever pan out. It’s being filed in the DC Circuit which, thanks to Obama, has been packed to rafters with Leftist judges.
But I guess we shall see.
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