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NRA and Trump campaign alleged to be illegally coordinating advertising strategy

NRA and Trump campaign alleged to be illegally coordinating advertising strategy

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Regulations regarding the conduct and financing of political campaigns are very clear.

It simply isn’t legal for a candidate’s political organization to coordinate any of its activities with sympathetic outside political action committees (PACs) in order to magnify their campaign efforts and increase their chances of victory.

At this stage of the election, with Donald Trump trailing Joe Biden in the polls by nearly seven points, legality seems to matter little to the Trump campaign.

Hence, The Daily Beast report today on the potentially illegal campaign arrangement between the Trump campaign and the NRA isn’t particularly astonishing, given how it fits into the other desperate and likely unlawful moves the president has taken to ensure that he wins the election and avoids the legal consequence from which his presidential position currently shields him.

“The NRA and the Trump campaign placed … ads through two companies that appear separate on paper, but reporting by The Trace indicates they are affiliates of National Media Research, Planning and Placement, an influential conservative firm in Alexandria, Virginia,” wrote The Daily Beast‘s Kevin Dugan.

“We identified four National Media employees whose names or signatures also appear on recent documents related to the shell companies. In fact, the three firms are so closely linked that they share a phone number. Earlier reporting by The Trace showed that National Media was at the center of a similar ad-buying strategy in 2016.”

Dugan gives an example of the evidence of coordination in ad buying and placement in crucial swing states where Trump-supporting NRA-purchased ads suspiciously replaced the official campaign ads on the airwaves as the president’s dwindling campaign coffers forced the rollback of spending on TV advertising.

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“The ominous 30-second spot, called ‘Carjack,’ aired more than 10,000 times in swing districts across Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, and Wisconsin during a two-week period in late August and early September. The NRA paid more than $4.1 million for the ad to run during shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The View,” Dugan reports.

“During that time, re-election ads for President Donald Trump that had been playing as early as May effectively stopped. In some cases, the president’s ads—which became less frequent on all national airwaves during this period—started up again days after the NRA’s ad buy ended.”

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The suspect timing of the transition from the official campaign ads to the NRA-purchased spots raised eyebrows among government watchdogs and former campaign monitoring officials.

“Former high-ranking Federal Election Commission (FEC) members and government watchdogs told The Trace that the overlapping personnel, and the ads’ seemingly choreographed timing, suggest an arrangement that violates campaign-finance laws,” Dugan reveals.

“The FEC, which oversees political advertising, bars candidates’ campaigns from working in concert with independent groups—such as, in this case, the NRA. If these campaigns did in fact coordinate, millions of dollars in spending could count as in-kind contributions to the Trump campaign, and the firms could face civil fines and a possible criminal referral to the Justice Department.”

With Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department, it’s unlikely that the NRA and the Trump campaign face any immediate danger of prosecution. However, the election of a new Democratic president could drastically change that situation come January and only add to the avalanche of legal woes that Trump is likely to face the moment Biden’s hand is on the Bible on the podium at his inauguration.

All the more reason to elect Joe Biden in a landslide so that “Law & Order” can truly be restored in our nation.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Matthew Chapman at RawStory.

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