February 13, 2015

Sen. Whitehouse Applauds DOJ Crackdown on Illegal Super PAC Coordination

Washington, DC – Today, federal prosecutors announced that a Virginia-based political consultant plead guilty to illegally coordinating spending between a 2012 congressional campaign and a super PAC.  Among other crimes, the operative apparently directed a super PAC to buy ads supporting a congressional campaign he was running, a clear violation of the law.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who has long warned about this kind of conduct, applauded the news:

“I’m pleased that the Department of Justice has finally taken the lead by prosecuting one of these flagrant campaign finance violations,” Whitehouse said.  “I hope this marks the beginning of a new era of scrutiny of super PACs that are set up with no other purpose than to illegally coordinate their spending with campaigns, and potentially also of phony social welfare groups that lie to the IRS about their political spending.” 

Whitehouse has been sounding the alarm about this type of illegal coordination for years.  In a brief that he filed in the Supreme Court with Sen. John McCain in  May, 2012, they wrote that since Citizens United, “Super PACs, 501(c)(4) organizations and political campaigns are knitted into a fundraising web that allows unlimited, non-independent and anonymous (to the public) political donations for the benefit of a specific candidate.”  The Senator has long called for prosecution on these grounds, including in a hearing he held in the Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism in April, 2013 which “examine[d] enforcement issues pertaining to coordination between candidates and outside groups.” 


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