Missouri Democratic Party files ethics, FEC complaints against Rep. Akin

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Akin's campaign revealed on Friday of last week that Akin agreed to an earmark ban backed by the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee founded by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) — a reversal of his previous position on the issue. DeMint endorsed Akin on Wednesday, and a representative from the SCF said on Tuesday that the group is considering pouring money into the race and that it "appears to still be winnable."

Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Mike Sanders called the alleged violations "brazen and shocking behavior" in a statement.

“In an attempt to salvage his campaign, Todd Akin has agreed to change his position on earmarks in an effort to secure the support of a SuperPAC — brazen and shocking behavior that is a clear violation of federal campaign laws and House ethics rules,” he said.

The ethics complaint filed by the Missouri Democratic Party alleges that Akin violated House ethics rules by changing his position on an issue, in this case earmarks, to receive campaign contributions. And the complaint filed with the FEC preemptively accuses Akin of receiving illegal in-kind contributions from the SCF. Though the group has indicated a willingness to spend on the race, it has not yet invested money there.

Akin's campaign has said that his position in support of earmarks is not a flip-flop; rather, after discussions between his own staff and that of the SCF, he's realized his position is consistent with the group's.

"This is a baseless charge. Todd's position on earmarks has been clear and consistent and it has not changed. There have been no discussions between Todd and Sen. DeMint's PAC," said Akin spokesman Rick Tyler.

He said that Akin's staff had been contacted by the SCF to find out his position on earmarks, and after further discussion, realized that they aligned with the group's. Tyler pointed to various votes Akin had taken against earmarks, as well as votes he said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), an outspoken critic of earmarks, had taken to secure earmarks.

Tyler went on to dismiss the charge as a distraction.

"What this charge is designed to do is it's designed to distract the Missouri voter away from Claire McCaskill's liberal voting record," he said.

--This piece was published at 4:59 p.m. and updated at 6:50 p.m.