Campaign Coordination Inquiry

Summary

Explosive investigative reporting by The Trace revealed that media buyers for the NRA’s purportedly independent campaign expenditures were simultaneously doing similar work on behalf of the campaigns they were supporting, including several high-profile U.S. Senate races and President Trump’s campaign.  Federal election law bars campaigns and independent groups from coordinating their spending.

This reporting includes the following articles:

  1. The Mystery Firm that Has Become the NRA’s Top Election Consultant” (7/13/2018)
  2. “Despite FEC Complaint, the NRA is Still Using a Mystery Firm (9/10/2018)
  3. Documents Point to Illegal Campaign Coordination Between Trump and NRA (12/6/2018)

Subsequent to the reporting by The Trace, at least five complaints were filed with the Federal Election Commission by the Campaign Legal Center and/or Giffords against the NRA alleging improper coordination of campaign spending.  These complaints were followed, in April 2019 by a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to force the Federal Election Commission to investigate the initial complaints.  That litigation is ongoing.   

There has also been some activity on Capitol Hill with respect to the NRA’s potentially improper campaign spending.  In February 2019, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Jamie Raskin announced they were seeking information from various media companies associated with the NRA’s advertising in these races to determine if any illegalities occurred.