When the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that political action committees (PACs) and non-profit groups were allowed to spend as much money as they wanted on elections, they were given one single restraint: coordination between political parties and the super PACs or non-profit groups was prohibited. CNN has now discovered what may be a shade of gray if not outright violation of campaign law. At issue is what appears to be anonymous public Twitter accounts where two outside political groups were able to share internal polling data with a Republican campaign committee.
One of the accounts was given the name of Bruno Gianelli, a fictional character on the TV series “West Wing” that favored using soft money in ways that were likely dubious. The tweets involved publishing data publicly, but which were still encoded so as to allow the data to be effectively shared only between two groups as a loophole in election law. Congressman Paul Ryan said the issue of using tweets is unique and has not been explicitly addressed by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). He acknowledged that those who engaged in sharing information through these means may have violated campaign law, but it is a practice on the edge of the law. Jared Haftel says one of the groups involved in this Twitter-based coordination was Karl Rove’s super PAC “American Crossroads”. Rove was known as “the architect” who engineered George W. Bush’s two successful presidential campaigns.