(CNN) - The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is accusing the House Republicans’ campaign committee of illegally coordinating advertising with an outside group in a competitive Louisiana special election.
The DCCC, which works to elect House Democrats, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission Wednesday arguing there’s evidence The National Republican Congressional Committee was involved in a TV script for an ad by the conservative group Freedom' s Watch. According to campaign finance laws, it is illegal for party committees to coordinate with outside groups within 90 days of a federal election.
The ad says that Democratic candidate Don Cazayoux will raise taxes if elected. Democrats say the document for the ad script sent to Louisiana television stations includes a stamp, referred to as "metadata," that shows “NRCC.”
Democrats argue that Freedom's Watch launched the TV ad right after the NRCC finished a week-long run of an ad with similar images of Cazayoux.
"Tom Cole (R-OK and NRCC Chairman) may have gotten his wish when Freedom's Watch came to the NRCC's rescue, but breaking the law will be the NRCC's worst nightmare. Freedom's Watch own Word document clearly shows the script for their ad came from the NRCC – that's clearly illegal, said Brian Wolff, Executive Director of the DCCC.
Ed Patru, spokesman for Freedom's Watch, dismissed the charge as a "sensational theory that falls apart once you hear the rest of the story."
A source with direct knowledge of the Freedom’s Watch Louisiana ad campaign said the consultant hired to create the ad also did work in the last election cycle for the NRCC. The consultant pulled up an old Microsoft Word document and typed the script of the new ad on it. When he saved the script to send to the stations, the old stamp appeared with the NRCC name on it.
NRCC Communications Director Karen Hanretty told CNN that there's no conclusive evidence showing the campaign committee coordinated with Freedom's Watch. She said that the NRCC ad went up first and publicized it heavily so anyone could use images from the ad.
Patru said "there's certainly nothing illegal about saving an old word document and typing over it." He added, "I find it difficult to imagine that anybody at the FEC takes this seriously."