YESTERDAY: TWEET FROM SENIOR STAFFER RECOMMENDED AD STRATEGY
TODAY: SUPER PAC AD BUY REFLECTS THAT STRATEGY
Members of the press:
Federal election law strictly prohibits coordination between campaigns and Super PACS.
But, as we told you yesterday, a senior staffer for Sara Gideon tweeted specific advertising strategy… and today, a Super PAC supporting Gideon followed that strategy to a tee.
Maeve Coyle, Gideon's communications director, tweeted specific information about ad strategy and media market placement.
A day later, Chuck Schumer’s Super PAC, Senate Majority PAC, responded to Maeve’s tweet by running two different versions of ads (falsely) attacking Sen. Collins on taxes….and the ads directly followed the Gideon campaign’s recommendations.
The Schumer ads including images of President Trump appeared in the Portland TV market, just as Coyle’s tweet directed:
But the Schumer ads about drug companies -- with no trace of President Trump -- did not appear in Portland, and instead ran "across Maine"….just like the tweet directed:
Similar (but less specific) coordination was the subject of a Federal Elections Commission complaint filed by the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) against Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg earlier this year. (Colby College's Anthony Corrado sits on the Board of CLC).
"On February 5, 2020, a senior Buttigieg campaign official tweeted, “Pete’s military experience and closing message from Iowa work everywhere especially in Nevada where it’s critical they see this on the air through the caucus.”
One week later, VoteVets—the only super PAC supporting Buttigieg’s campaign at the time, and the only group that could reasonably be expected to follow through on the “critical” request—aired over $639,000 in broadcast ads in Nevada, slated to run through the caucus, touting “Pete’s military experience” and highlighting the theme of unity that Buttigieg had used as his “closing message” in the final stretch of the Iowa caucus."
It's noteworthy that the CLC complaint did not have the precise substantiation of correlation that the Gideon situation has.
A one day delay between the tweet and this specific, market segmented ad strategy should raise serious eyebrows about the Gideon campaign's adherence to FEC coordination rules.