Report: Group running pro-McDaniel push poll for weeks

A group has been running a pro-Sen. Chris McDaniel push-poll for at least two weeks and has not disclosed how it’s paying for the poll, a potential violation of Federal Election Commisssion regulations.

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Mississippi Citizens for a Better Mississippi’s president, Paul Buisson, confirmed to the Clarion Ledger that his group has been running the poll. It reportedly includes questions that are critical of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), who’s locked in a contentious fight with McDaniel for the GOP nomination.

The survey says Cochran’s supported ObamaCare, increased the debt and “helped lobbyists like former Gov. Haley Barbour get rich off the government dime.”

In addition to the unusually long time the poll’s been in the field, it appears to have an unusual legal designation. The group is registered as a limited liability company, but it hasn’t reported any of its expenditures to the FEC, and Buisson insisted that wasn’t necessary because the poll wasn’t electoral but rather informational.

"It's just providing information to voters, just like any other small group or tea party group that passes out information about candidates," he said. "We're not endorsing any particular candidate."

Asked why that would exempt it from reporting requirements, Buisson eventually said the organization is a nonexistant "non-profit listed LLC."

A pro-Cochran group, Mississippi Conservatives PAC, has also faced legal questions in recent days, as a group supporting McDaniel filed a complaint with the FEC alleging it failed to disclose a donor backing a $250,000 loan. The group has said it's backing the loan with a certificate of deposit, but has refused to reveal who's funding the CD.

Cochran and McDaniel face off on June 3, and the outcome of the primary is expected to decide the general, where Democrats are running former Rep. Travis Childers in hopes of a McDaniel victory, which could open up a shot at the seat.