Parties Play Politics With FEC Complaints

Nathan L. Gonzales August 28, 2015 · 10:17 AM EDT

Ethics problems can be serious trouble for any politician, but party strategists often use Federal Election Committee complaints to play games with the opposition, because the allegation has a slim chance of being ruled on before Election Day.

“Everyone knows both sides file complaints to get press hits,” one campaign strategist said anonymously in order to speak candidly.

For example, in July a former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee communications director now with an outside group, American Democracy Legal Fund, filed an FEC complaint concerning compensation GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin received after his 2010 race.

Subsequently, Roll Call wrote a story, “Group Files FEC Complaint Against Johnson.” And a couple of days later, the DSCC sent out an email with the subject line, “Busted: FEC Complaint Filed Against Ron Johnson For Shady Corporate Fundraising Scheme,” that linked to the story.

Whether the accusation is true is beside the point. The accusers know simply filing a complaint will generate media attention and cast doubt onto the accused.

“The standards for filing a complaint are pretty low,” said FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel. “Any person may file a complaint if he or she believes a violation of the federal election campaign laws or Commission regulations…

Campaign Committees Open Holes While Filling Others

Nathan L. Gonzales August 27, 2015 · 9:03 AM EDT

Democrats want to hold the White House, take back the majorities in the Senate and the House, and gain ground in governorships. But what happens when those are conflicting goals?

In Florida, strategists at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are excited Rep. Patrick Murphy is running for…

Missing the Boat on the Big Political News

Stuart Rothenberg August 26, 2015 · 9:00 AM EDT

On Aug. 21, I did something — twice — that I rarely do. I tweeted. But it wasn’t about Donald Trump’s poll numbers or Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails. It was about the stock market’s plunge.

While Trump’s latest salvo (no matter the subject) is always entertaining and the size of Bernard Sanders’…

Crist, Culver Contemplate Humbling Transition to the House

Nathan L. Gonzales August 25, 2015 · 8:55 AM EDT

It’s not easy to transition from governor to become one of 100 senators. But former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver are contemplating something even more humbling — jumping from chief executive to become one of 435 in the House.

Earlier this month, my Roll Call…

Donald Trump and the Fight for the Senate

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Stuart Rothenberg August 21, 2015 · 1:59 PM EDT

As Donald Trump dominates the headlines and political talk show circuit, it’s worth pondering what impact he is having – or could have – on next year’s elections.

It probably goes without saying that there is little chance that the multi-millionaire real estate mogul and self-promoter will be the…