The New Hampshire Republican Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D) campaign charging she attempted to illegally coordinate with a Democratic group supporting her reelection bid.
It points to a post on Shaheen’s website that outlined “an important message for New Hampshire,” a statement about attack ads funded by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
The statement targets Scott Brown, Shaheen’s expected GOP opponent, on tax breaks for the oil industry and Wall Street, in contrast to Shaheen’s record. It includes a link to sourcing for the charges in the message, and a handful of high-resolution images of Shaheen.
The statement was published to Shaheen’s website on April 23, and Justin Barasky, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, tweeted the message that same day.
A few days later, on April 26, Senate Majority PAC launched a new ad targeting Brown’s record on tax breaks for the oil industry, which used a different script from the message posted on Shaheen’s website but followed a similar line of attack.
Outside groups are prohibited by law from direct coordination from candidates and parties, but candidates have been known to push the boundaries of the law by posting video clips or messaging memos online or in news reports that outside groups use to inform their own strategy.
Jennifer Horn, New Hampshire GOP chairwoman, called Shaheen’s website post an “obvious and brazen attempt to coordinate” with the outside group.
“It is essential that the FEC thoroughly investigate Shaheen’s shady Super PAC coordination scheme to ensure public confidence in our election laws,” she said.
Shaheen’s spokesman, Harrell Kirstein, dismissed the accusation as “entirely false” and suggested the state party was trying to distract from the news that Brown had decided to run much earlier than he had publicly proclaimed.
"On a day when Scott Brown was under fire for revealing he'd been giving phony answers about when he decided to run for Senate, it's no surprise that Republicans are filing a phony complaint. It has no merit and is entirely false,” Kirstein said. “The truth is Scott Brown has been under attack for years for coddling Big Oil and Wall Street and cashing in on those connections."
With Brown's entry to the race, Republicans are enthusiastic about their chances of taking down Shaheen. They believe her to be vulnerable due to ObamaCare's unpopularity in New Hampshire.