Call it coordination or call it coincidence, but it’s clear there’s no robust mechanism, and little government appetite, to dissuade moneyed campaigns and super PACs from dancing near or around rules governing concerted activity and messaging which, strictly speaking, isn’t legal.
That’s largely because of the high bar for proving a campaign or super PAC violated established law. And the Federal Election Commission has of late internally disagreed on what actually constitutes coordination between a federal campaign and political committees making independent expenditures that support them.
Punishments, rare as they are, would almost certainly come in the form of fines that could effectively be paid out of a moneyed campaign’s petty cash drawer and come months, even years after an alleged infraction.
Tuesday’s American Crossroads video begins: “Obama’s attacking private equity. But what’s his record on public equity investing?” It continues: “Obama invested our tax dollars in Solyndra. Lost half a billion.”
The Romney campaign video, meanwhile, states: “President Obama is spending your tax dollars to create jobs. How’s he doing? You’ve heard of Solyndra. They took $535 million in taxpayer loan guarantees and went bankrupt.”
“It is not a surprise that American Crossroads would attack Obama on a very obvious vulnerability. However, Crossroads is an entirely independent entity,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “The Romney campaign has nothing to do with its choice in Web ads.”