Search This Blog

Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Common Vendors

Ashley Balcerzak writes at Open Secrets:
Common use of staff and services skyrocketed this year: There were at least 632 instances where a super PAC and the candidate it supported both hired the same person or company at some point during this cycle, compared to 86 in 2014 and 161 in 2012.
Combined, the campaigns and outside groups paid these at least 393 overlapping merchants and employees more than $32 million through Nov. 28.Common use of staff and services skyrocketed this year: There were at least 632 instances where a super PAC and the candidate it supported both hired the same person or company at some point during this cycle, compared to 86 in 2014 and 161 in 2012.
Combined, the campaigns and outside groups paid these at least 393 overlapping merchants and employees more than $32 million through Nov. 28.
...

To ensure the two aren’t in cahoots (also known as coordination), there are certain rules they have to follow. A candidate can’t jointly pay for an ad with a super PAC, or give the outside group crucial info about advertising content or placement.
There’s also the “common vendor rule”: A super PAC can’t hire a company or staffer from a campaign until a four month cooling-off period passes.
Sharing vendors “presents an easy way to undermine the independence of super PACs,” said Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. “The common vendor could operate as a conduit for information between the two, such as where the campaign needs ads bought, what they want them to say or what voters to target.”
However, there is a way around this rule: The vendor can establish a firewall, and write contracts with the campaign and the super PAC explaining how the two accounts, and the work done on them, will be kept separate.