A pair of Democratic strategists have challenged right-wing lawyer James Bopp and his new scheme to use members of Congress to drum up unlimited cash for what you might call the GOP's new "super-duper" PAC.
In a letter to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) sent today, Monica Dixon and Ali Lapp, the directors of two new super PACs intended to bolster congressional Democrats in 2012, have questioned the legality of Bopp's new venture, simply called "Republican Super PAC." While federal law caps campaign donations directly to candidates at $2,500 a year, Bopp's plan would harness the fundraising prowess of politicians to funnel donations to Bopp's outfit—the donors could even tell Republican Super PAC to earmark their money for particular race. The key, Bopp told my colleague Stephanie Mencimer, is that "coordination only applies to spending, not to the fundraising." What Bopp's saying is that while PACs like his cannot directly coordinate with candidates or elected officials on TV ads, mailers, or other types of campaigning, it's perfectly legal to ask candidates to raise money for his PAC.
Dixon and Lapp, however, want the FEC to take a look at Bopp's strategy and declare if it's legal or not. Pointing to federal statute, their attorneys say that Bopp's plan "would appear to prohibit [federal elected officials, candidates for federal office, and national party committee members] from soliciting unlimited individual, corporate, and union contributions on behalf of" PACs like Bopp's. In an accompanying statement Dixon and Lapp said: "We are seeking immediate clarification from the FEC in order to ensure that our organizations operate fully within the law and in order to assure operational equivalency between Republicans and Democrats."
Which is to say, if the FEC approves of what the other guys are doing with their super-duper PAC, we should be able to do it as well.
Here's the full letter: