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April 24. 2014 9:08PM

NH GOP says Shaheen campaign coordinating with SuperPACs

The New Hampshire Republican State Committee issued a statement Thursday in response to an “important message for New Hampshire” tweeted by Democrats on Wednesday, accusing Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign of coordinating messaging with SuperPACs — coordination that is prohibited by law.

On Wednesday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee tweeted a “message” that contained a link to a page on the Shaheen campaign’s website, which contained language, research data and imagery that resembles political ads run by outside PACs.

“More attack ads. Paid for by the Koch Brothers and their special interest money. More proof big oil, the Koch Brothers and Wall Street think they can buy our Senate seat for Scott Brown,” read a section of the text on the Shaheen site’s page. The webpage also contained what appeared to be stock images of Shaheen.

On Thursday, New Hampshire GOP Chairman Jennifer Horn likened the message “script” for a future attack ad paid for by a super PAC.

“Jeanne Shaheen has spent months attacking outside money, but now she is sending thinly veiled smoke signals to Harry Reid begging for help from his outside money SuperPAC. This is another example of the shameless hypocrisy that Granite Staters have unfortunately come to expect from dishonest Washington politicians like Jeanne Shaheen,” said Horn in a statement. “Additionally, Shaheen’s blatant attempt to coordinate with an outside SuperPAC is potentially illegal and raises serious ethical questions about her campaign.”

Shaheen’s camp responded Thursday afternoon, reiterating its position that third party advertising could be eliminated from the campaign if Brown would sign a ‘people’s pledge.’

“Scott Brown’s Big Oil and Wall Street buddies have now spent $2 million, more than 3 times what Democratic groups have spent, attacking Jeanne Shaheen because they want Scott Brown back in the Senate voting to protect Big Oil tax breaks and saving billions for Wall Street,” Harrell Kirstein, Communications Director for the Shaheen campaign, said in a statement. “Scott Brown could put an end to third party advertising if he signed the people’s pledge, the same exact pledge he proposed and signed in Massachusetts, and we remain ready to meet at any time and place to negotiate this agreement. We are going to make sure New Hampshire voters know the truth about Scott Brown’s record of voting to give Big Oil and Wall Street billions in special breaks.”

According to campaign finance law, when an individual or political committee pays for a communication that is coordinated with a candidate or party committee, the communication is considered an in-kind contribution to that candidate or party committee and is subject to the limits, prohibitions and reporting requirements of the federal campaign finance law.

Political experts feel voters should get used to hearing about these types of ‘messages’ in the future.

“I think we’ll definitely see more of this as the campaign progresses,” said Neil Levesque, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library at Saint Anselm College.

National Republican Congressional Committee Communications Director Brad Dayspring issued a release Thursday stating that on April 11 in North Carolina, the DSCC issued an “important message” tweet, and four days later Senate Majority PAC released an ad featuring similar content. Dayspring’s release said the same thing happened April 7 and 8 in Arkansas, with the Patriot Majority PAC releasing an ad a week later.

Dayspring also tweeted a wager that Senate Majority PAC would begin running ads by May 5 that resemble the “important message” to New Hampshire voters.

pfeely@unionleader.com


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