April 16th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
7 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. Ian

    McCain can't even follow basic campaign rules, what makes anyone think he's capable of running an entire country?

    April 16, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. TeamObama

    What? Let's stick to the rules Republicans!

    April 16, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  3. jake

    . . . .McRovian tactics at work.

    April 16, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. Teresa Bray Moore

    CNN IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE FAIR YOU NEED TO REMOVE YOUR AD FROM THE WEB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 16, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. Gail

    CNN is becoming nothing more than a rag magazine like the National Enquirer. CNN is earning the name the "Most Biased Name in News Reporting"

    Just formally endorse Obama and be done with it.

    April 16, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. CHERYL FOR HILLARY

    OBAMA SHOULD BE ACCUSED OF TRYING TO BUY THE PRESIDENCY!

    CNN AND OTHER NEWS OUTLETS WANT THE PUBLIC TO THINK THAT HILLARY'S RATINGS ARE LOW!!!

    THEY SURE AREN'T!

    THIS IS ANOTHER PLOY TO PROP OBAMA UP!!!!

    HE IS A SNAKE OIL SALESMAN,SOMEONE WHO TELLS LIES TO MAKE A SALE!!!!

    HE WILL NEVER WIN IN THE GENERAL ELECTION!

    SO ALL THESE FOOLS VOTING FOR HIM ARE REALLY GIVING IT TO McCAIN!!!!

    MAYBE THAT IS WHAT THE PLAN IS?

    I AM VOTING FOR THE ONE I KNOW I CAN TRUST! HILLARY CLINTON!!!!!

    April 16, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. jaybee

    Hillary just picked up a HUGE endorsement from the Construction Workers' Union today! Why isn't CNN posting this as a ticker?

    April 16, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Demo Craxy

    why can the DNC concentrate in their own matters first.....they party is crumbling and Hillary digs deeper and deeper, and she does not care, why can the DNC stand up to the clinton Machine???

    if Obama can stand the comments, division, lies, made up stuff, and all of clinton kitchen sink politics and smearing, he can stand to whomever comes next whether republican, independent democrat, you name it.

    the worst for anyone to overcome is the clinton machine, they are difficult to overcome not because they are are good but becasue they are so dishonest and lie and lie, and they do not care....
    Adios billarysssssssss

    April 16, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. ponder this

    "Obama, like Clinton and John McCain, has accepted donations from oil and gas company employees — $222,309 in Obama's case from donors from Exxon, Shell, Chevron and others" USAtoday.com
    and he says he offers change.....

    April 16, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. CHERYL FOR HILLARY

    IT IS AMAZING WHAT THE NEWS OUTLETS WILL DO TO GET VOTES 'FOR THEIR FAVORITE!!!!!

    HILLARY CLINTON'S RATINGS ARE NOT DOWN!!!!!

    THEY ARE TRYING TO GET THIS UNACCOMPLISHED JERK AS MANY VOTES AS THEY CAN IN PENN BY SAYING THAT SHE IS DOWN SO YOU WILL NOT VOTE FOR HER!!!

    DO NOT BUY INTO IT PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

    I AM VOTING FOR HILLARY!!!!!!!

    April 16, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. Michael

    CNN should be renamed ONN.

    Obama National News

    This poll was out last week. Old news. Funny, CNN never published a poll showing Hillary having narrowed Obama's lead to within 3 points, so that is news to me. Then, of course, CNN would have never posted that. If it had, it would have read "Obama holds three point lead over Clinton and she'll never catch up!"

    April 16, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. John

    Go figure. Hillary drop out!

    April 16, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    The Republican explanation is laughable!

    April 16, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  14. mike

    IS IT NOT INTERESTING THAT THE POPE IS HERE JUST BEFORE THE ELECTION. SAME OLD GOP TRICKS. ABORTION WILL BE THE KEY FOR THE GOP AND CARRIED OUT BY OUR GRAND OLD PRESS. IT WILL BE PREACHED FROM THE PULPITS AND THE CATHOLICS WILL HAVE ANOTHER 500 MILLION OR SO... TO PAY OFF THE PEDOFILE DEBT. CARL ROVE AT ITS BEST MIKE FROM HERMITAGE PA

    April 16, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  15. ML Holmes

    Today I checked out 14 polls and Clinton was ahead in Pa by 21 points in one poll and ahead less than that in all except l poll where she was 2 points behind. Media is misquoting facts again .Accurate journalism has been comprised again

    April 16, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. Christopher, Madison, WI

    I'm sure we all surprised by this "newsflash"...not!

    April 16, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  17. JW

    Polls released yesterday (Quinnipiac) and today (Daily News/Franklin & Marshall) show Clinton up 5 to 6 points here in Allegheny County but up 38 points (both polls) in southwestern counties surrounding Allegheny

    April 16, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. Maxine, MT

    Uh ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    Shades of Watergate! What is going on? The GOP is caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

    It's time for a change, throw the bums out, America.

    Obama 08

    April 16, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. FEDUP

    This election has it all... Race, Religion. Recession, Age, Gender, Lies, Legalities, Liquor, Lobbist, Loathing, Snipers,Guns, Bullets, Hunting, Bowling, Pandering, Celebrities, Comedy, Early Morning Phone Calls, Evolution, Vulgarity, Name Calling, Supersized Delegates, and last but not least the Pope.

    April 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. Reginald, NY

    Campaigngate!

    Investigate, don't buy their story. They've been bushnotized.

    Obama 08

    April 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  21. Marsha, KY

    Well we've learned through Watergate, that you should follow the money–don't stop with the NRCC.

    Obama 08

    April 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. Bernice

    That's right Howard Dean still alert!

    Oh! by the way someone might need to check to see what involvement the Republican Party had in that call about those children in Texas, I really believe they were behind this somehow, I told my husband the first day it aired Those Republicans are behind this! It is too strange that a call would come what less than one week after it was reported that McCain was warned by some rich Republican financial supporter that if he chose Mitt Romney, who by the way is Mormon, McCain would lost his support. What better way to ensure that Mitt would not be acceptable to the community than to put his religion on negative display! I told my husband they would not be able to find this girl because I think that call came from somewhere within that Party and true enough she has not been found to this day, then there came this call from another state from the same caller!

    This has been going on forever, many girls have begged for help to get out, Why did they choose this time and this caller's plea? Something is up with this!!

    They named some man I can't remember his name as the husband and abuser of this girl. Start there check who he has hurt in the past, it may be a relative or friend of his victim. I don't know but I sure know it's worth checking out. I bet you can track this back to them

    I thank God those children are taken out of this situation, but I think something is wrong about the claim for action!

    April 16, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  23. Kenny

    I love the saying of...... If the Democrats have brains they will be Republicans. Oh...That is so true!!!!

    Go HILLARY or McCain 08

    April 16, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  24. Marc, Seattle Wash

    What does Bill Clinton mean by saying "older people are too savvy to fall for Obama." What is he really trying to say. Older people should be smart and remember Mark Rich. Older Fled to Switzerland in 1983. Remember the 800,000 dollars that Colombia gave Bill and Hillary used to put into her campaign. Remember Bill asking Penn to have his company go to Washington and Lobby Congress for free-trade with Colombia. Don't forget the money that China gave Bill. I think we should remember that Bill. Remember when nobody wanted you to even set up office and you had to run to Harlem just to have an office. Remember that blacks welcomed you when nobody else wanted your sorry butt.

    April 16, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  25. Jacklyn, NC

    Hey you all. what Republican isn't a crook. Democrats get for real and kick their butts.

    Democrats '08'

    April 16, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
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