Oregon Democratic Party files FEC complaint against Wehby campaign

The Democratic Party of Oregon has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Republican Monica Wehby’s campaign and a super PAC aiding her Senate bid, charging they’ve illegally coordinated messagin in the race.

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The super PAC in question, which has invested more than $100,000 in ads attacking Wehby’s main primary opponent, state Rep. Jason Conger, is funded in part by lumber magnate Andrew Miller, who is reportedly romantically involved with Wehby. Last week, Miller hosted a fundraiser for Wehby.

“When you’re in a relationship, communication is essential. When you have a Super PAC, communication is forbidden. Starting a Super PAC for someone you are romantically involved with and feigning ignorance of her campaign strategy and denying coordination is brazen, to say the least,” said Frank Dixon, Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon.

Dixon said that “to claim there’s no coordination when a major funder of the Super PAC is hosting campaign fundraisers is unbelievable.”

Miller has defended his work with the group and said that he hasn’t discussed the advertising with Wehby.

"From the outside, I can see the optics would appear otherwise and I know some folks appear to think there must be a smoking gun of coordination there and I would welcome the inspection," Miller previously told the Oregonian.

Wehby’s campaign accused the Oregon Democratic Party of “making a false accusation.”

"Our campaign has not coordinated with this group in any way," said Charlie Pearce, Wehby’s spokesman. "Anyone suggesting otherwise is making a false accusation."

The complaint is unlikely to go anywhere soon, but campaigns have turned to FEC complaints as a quick and simple way to create headaches and negative headlines for their opponents. In the New Hampshire Senate race, both state parties have lobbed dueling FEC complaints at Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Republican candidate Scott Brown's campaigns.

Wehby is seen as a top contender and Republicans are hopeful about her chances in the general election against Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), if she makes it through her primary later this month.