Jeb Bush’s Nonexistent Campaign Faces Nonexistent Hurdles

Jeb Bush at The World Affairs Council in September, 2012. (cropped from original image)<a href=https://www.flickr.com/photos/wacphiladelphia/8033641249/in/photolist-deUvE2-dfQ7FF-deUpt9-mhqvcP-mhpDiF-mhreMC-mhpBfH-mhqhSX-mhq3tr-mhrc8Q-mhrtWj-mhqkJP-ppGRvp-q3yPGu-tBAHMt-q6k3ye-9kEW9V-7dot1V-cmp9xY-7vW1FB-rJL2we-7vW1DH-cmp9oy-msRVJK-qHGsTx-qFzghC-deU85K-qRXrrS-qZyCRx-paCfbP-deUhtz-dfPXtt-deUsze-deUc7N-deUwHm-deUdxP-deUeZj-7dskV5-oWrEiX-7vW2rR-7vZRuL-7vW1gR-7vZQau-7vZRKW-7vZQ6Y-7vZRD5-7vZQzA-7vZRyS-7vZQhu-7vZQkw>TheWorldAffairsCouncil</a>/Flickr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Technically, Jeb Bush is not yet running for president. So technically, there have not been recent staff changes in the former Florida governor’s presidential campaign.

According to an NBC Nightly News report on Wednesday, two top campaign aides, Danny Diaz and David Kochel, were given new titles and new responsibilities. Diaz became campaign manager, and Kochel became chief strategist. While on a trip to Europe, Bush was asked by NBC’s Chris Jansing why he replaced his campaign manager, and his reply was firm. “Well first of all, we don’t have a campaign,” Bush said. “So there was no switching.”

Bush’s strategy seems to be to eliminate any potential questions about internal campaign discord by insisting that the campaign itself does not exist.

But what works for a staff shake up may not be so effective with the Federal Election Commission. Some watchdog organizations contend that this non-campaign campaign could get him into legal hot water. Candidates must follow strict FEC regulations when they raise their campaign war chests, but those regulations don’t apply to candidates who are merely “testing the waters.”  Bush’s ambivalence has attracted the attention of some watchdog organizations. Yesterday, the nonpartisan watchdog groups Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 sent a letter to the Department of Justice urging it to “investigate apparent campaign finance violations by Jeb Bush and his associated Super PAC.” The groups allege that Bush’s super-PAC has violated federal contribution laws in the way it has raised and spent its money:

We are writing to make clear that Bush’s formal declaration of candidacy has absolutely no effect on the allegations made in our May 27 letter requesting an investigation of the Bush Super PAC scheme. In the letter, we showed that Bush already is, and has for some time been, a candidate for federal office under the statutory definition of “candidate” set forth in the federal campaign finance laws. Bush cannot evade the statutory definition of “candidate” by proclaiming he is not a candidate.

On Monday, Bush is expected to announce that his presidential campaign actually does exist.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate