April 16th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Democrats accuse Republicans of illegal campaign activity

(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."


Filed under: Congress • Political ads
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. honkey white guy from cali

    I found this from 1995 a direct quote from then first lady Clinton to then president Bill Clinton! she referred to them as

    "lunch bucket democrats"

    "Screw 'em," she told her husband. "You don't owe them a thing, Bill. They're doing nothing for you; you don't have to do anything for them."

    in the words of her husband " give me a break"!

    LIES LIES LIES I put that in caps so the Clinton bots can read it it seems they can only type in all caps.

    Go Obama 08 Yes We Can

    April 16, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. AZM

    Tax dollars at work... Hire a couple hundred lawyers to get to the bottom of this...

    April 16, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Republicans tamper with democracy and the electoral process? Next folks will say they rigged the 2004 elections in Ohio...oh, wait a minute, never mind.

    April 16, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. Susan MO

    Hillary is a crook and a fraud. (did I say that out loud)
    GO Hillary. WE LOVE YOU!!!
    --------------------------------
    WHY AM I BACKING A LOSER? WHY? WHY? WHY?
    GENDER IDENTIFICATION!
    SHE WILL LOSE BUT I MUST BACK HER. THIS IS MADNESS
    WHY? WHY? WHY?
    HILLARY WE LOVE YOU

    Hillary 08 or McSame 08

    April 16, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. Eli of Stockbridge

    If this is true, then it is nothing new. Just plain ole politics that we continue to cope with. Wish Jack was running for President.

    April 16, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. Richard

    The republicans lie cheat steal from all of us... The dems do too, but the Republicans are far more evil.

    April 16, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. Susan MO

    We are on to you

    April 16, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Scott C

    McCain got a loan as a result of using his federal matching funds as collateral AND got his name on the ballot FREE in all 50 states, a benefit of using the federal funding.

    He has not conformed to the rules of federal financing though.

    He got all the benefits of federal financing without actually having to follow the rules that came with it.

    According to legislation McCain himself sponsored.

    He broke the rules, this needs front page coverage.

    April 16, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Kenneth M

    THIS SAYS CLINTON:
    I know how you feel. I understand Hillary's sense of outrage. It makes me mad too. Sure, we lost our base in the South; our boys voted for Gingrich. But let me tell you something. I know these boys. I grew up with them. Hardworking, poor, white boys, who feel left out, feel that our reforms always come at their expense. Think about it, every progressive advance our country has made since the Civil War has been on their backs. They're the ones asked to pay the price of progress. Now, we are the party of progress, but let me tell you, until we find a way to include these boys in our programs, until we stop making them pay the whole price of liberty for others, we are never going to unite our party, never really going to have change that sticks.

    April 16, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. Susan MO

    ummm........ may not be good.

    Hillary Clinton 08

    April 16, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. BAKERSFIELD

    POLITICS OF OLD AND OBAMA WILL BE APART OF IT. HE HAS GOT YOU GUYS SO BUFFALOED I AM SO LAUGHING AT OBAMA SUPPORTERS, THIS IS COLLEGE EDUCATED WHOA. I RUN MY OWN COMPANY AND ITS SO FUNNY THESE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE SO DISFUNCTIONAL. THEY CALL IN SICK COME IN LATE AND WEAR FLIP FLOPS TO WORK NO SENSE ON HOW TO BE A MAN. I'VE BEEN SICK 1 TIME IN 18 YEARS AND HAVE NEVER BEEN LATE. I GUESS ITS LIKE OBAMA NOT PRESENT VOTES.

    April 16, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. Grif

    So? You have made you're Bed, now lie on it. No use complaining because the Democtat's don't know, their back end from their front... You! Let the Voters down...

    April 16, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. Veterans for Obama

    Wow Dean, you're awake!

    April 16, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. s sustek

    Ha Jack Im an old person Id say very savvy f you can hit Sen Clinton dayafter day why shouldn;t Pres. Clinton be her advicate you guys are the most unprofessional news people I have ever heard in my many years on this planet you tend to always have Oboma people on but have a had time fnding any Sen Clinton people if Oboma in the nominee mark my word youl switch to McCain pretty fast I still say taxes taxes taxes This will be another selection pres. 2000 court 2004 sec state from ohio 2008 media Shirl

    April 16, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Fred

    Rep. Are just a bunch of crooks. Put this country where it is today. Down the jonny flusher.

    April 16, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. NickNas

    I am trying to see the story here.

    Repuplicans doing something fishy during an election, the sun will come up from the east and Rain comes from the sky.

    April 16, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. K of TX

    Guess that means that more people identified with he truth in his comments than listened to the other candidates or the media try to spin them as being "elitist"....

    April 16, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Obama where are your 1997, 1998 and 1999 tax returns??? What are you hiding Mr Obama?

    April 16, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. John, Brooklyn NY

    Note to Republicans –

    The good ole days days of Karl Rove and Tom DeLay are over. You can neither skirt the laws nor expect the Democrats to quietly whimper in the wings while you re-write the election regulations at will.

    This is a very BLUE year, and with bush-league (pun intended) tactics like this...its only get BLUER!

    April 16, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Independent for Hillary, Pittsburgh

    What else is new?

    Who cares, stop whinning democrats bc that is why we lose every election. We complain and complain instead of kicking butt.

    April 16, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. PA Democrat

    HA! Nice try Republicans!
    Tryin to pull a fast one!
    Glad some one is keeping an eye on you slicksters!!

    April 16, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. vince - Phoenix - (forgive me cnn, for I have sinned)

    Replicans cheating... .... NNNNNNnnnnooooooo! Never....! (sarcasm off!)

    April 16, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. Creative Woody

    They're just now realizing the Republicans are criminals?

    April 16, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  24. Darth Vadik, CA

    Sky is blue,
    Pope is catholic,
    Republicans are crooks

    April 16, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. Mike

    Dems accusing anyone of illegal activity? What about Obama and Clinton's activities (Rezko, Paul vs. Clinton). Gimme a break.

    April 16, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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