Anti-Clinton PAC demands FEC investigate pro-Clinton group
The Stop Hillary PAC, an organization dedicated to preventing Hillary Rodham Clinton from becoming the next president, pressured the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday to act on a complaint that another group with the opposite goal is illegally operating as a Clinton campaign committee.
The anti-Clinton group sent a letter to the FEC demanding action on its Jan. 22 complaint that the Ready for Hillary PAC violated election law by receiving tacit support from Mrs. Clinton when it rented the email list of supporters from her failed 2008 presidential campaign.
The letter detailed how the FEC had not enforced its own 15-day deadline for Ready for Hillary PAC to respond to the complaint.
“Fully ninety-nine (99) days have elapsed since that deadline and Stop Hillary PAC has received no further communication from the FEC on this matter to indicate whether the matter is open, closed, or swept under the rug,” Dan Backer, the group’s treasurer, wrote in the letter.
The FEC received the letter Wednesday. The Washington Times obtained a copy of the letter.
The FEC did not immediately respond to the letter, said Stop Hillary PAC spokesman Garrett Marquis.
Ready for Hillary referred a request for comment to the FEC. FEC spokeswoman Judith Ingram told The Times that the agency does not comment on enforcement issues.
The FEC acknowledged receipt of the original complaint Jan. 29, notified both Ready for Hillary and Mrs. Clinton by Feb. 3, starting the 15-day clock running for a response, but the FEC took no further action, according to the anti-Clinton PAC.
The group warned in the letter that slow-walking the complaint against the PAC and Mrs. Clinton would expose the FEC, a nonpartisan agency that oversees elections, to accusations of partisanship.
Citing the forced resignation last month of an FEC staff attorney who solicited contributions for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and took part in a web broadcast at FEC offices to criticize the Republican Party and its 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Stop Hillary PAC warned that the FEC reputation was again on the line.
The conduct of the now-former staff attorney, which violates the Hatch Act limits on political activity by government employee, “raises serious concerns as to the nonpartisan enforcement of routine FEC matters,” wrote Mr. Backer.
“As the FEC has a substantial interest in avoiding even the appearance of partiality in its enforcement activities, and in light of the seriousness of violations we raise, I urge the FEC to ensure the prompt and public resolution of this complaint without any further undue delay,” he said.
Mrs. Clinton — a former first lady, U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state — is the undisputed early frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, though she has not formally announced her intent to run.
The Ready for Hillary PAC describes itself as a “nationwide grassroots movement encouraging the former Secretary of State to run for president in 2016.”
The group launched its draft-Clinton effort as soon as Mrs. Clinton stepped down as Obama’s secretary of state in January 2013.
A year later, the group came under scrutiny for renting the email list from Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 campaign. It used the list of supporters to send email offering bumper stickers that read “I’m Ready for Hillary.”
Ready for Hillary has insisted the it did nothing wrong by reaching out to Mrs. Clinton’s past supporters.