Meet the Press talked it up over the weekend, as did several Virginia news outlets. After meeting with representatives from the Obama and Clinton camps weeks ago (and talking heavily about it in the press to show “unity”), the DNC launched a fierce attack ad against Republican nominee Senator John McCain.
The problem? Co-ordinated efforts in excess of $5,000 are illegal. Not just a little illegal either… this is the sort of stuff that shuffles front offices.
DNC’s response? A nasty, vitriolic version of “YEEARGH!!!”
Hager alleged in an affidavit to the Federal Election Commission that the DNC coordinated the ad with the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. That would violate federal election law.
“This is just another GOP lie in the Bush-McCain tradition, but it doesn’t change the fact that John McCain doesn’t understand the economy,” said DNC spokesman Luis Miranda.
One minor problem: DNC co-ordination does break the law.
Of course, the fact that the DNC spokesmanperson couldn’t bring himself to deny co-oordination digs up more questions than answers.
UPDATE: RPV follows up with a release this afternoon:
“Not only are the Democrats blatantly distorting comments made by John McCain, but they are clearly breaking the law in order to do so,” said Hager. “The DNC should immediately pull this ad. If they refuse to do so, then Senators Clinton and Obama and their supporters, including Governor Kaine, should call on the DNC to stop running the ad.”
Just in case there is any question as to whether or not DNC was co-ordinating with the two Democratic contenders, check these quotes out (no links provided… but we’re properly citing evidence here):
DNC “officials have met in recent days with the top campaign brass of Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) to brief them on the committee’s plans in the coming months. (“DNC Officials Huddle With Clinton, Obama Campaigns” by Chris Cillizza, Washingtonpost.com, April 25, 2008)
“I don’t think we have to bring up age,” said Cornell Belcher, an Obama pollster who collaborated on the DNC’s McCain poll. “I don’t think we will”…Since the Democrats have not yet settled on a presidential candidate, Dean was joined in making the polling presentation by Belcher, one of Sen. Barack Obama’s pollsters, as well as Allan Rivlin, whose polling firm does work for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. (“Dean: McCain’s Age Worries Voters” by Teddy Davis and Mike Elmore, ABCNews.com, April 10, 2008)
DNC Chairman Howard Dean was naturally more flippant than usual when asked about the scandal this weekend. Of course, the great undercurrent of the story is that RPV Chairman John Hager virtually single-handedly is taking on the national Democratic Party and causing quite a stir. If the FEC levies a fine against the DNC this early in the game without some massive changes in the leadership, this will cast a pall of unethical behavior over the entire Democratic Convention, not to mention severely hamstring the eventual Democratic nominee in 2008.