Watchdogs: Perry team might have violated campaign finance laws

Two watchdog groups Thursday called on the Federal Election Commission to look into possible infringements by Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry’s campaign and a pro-Perry super-PAC.
 
Make Us Great Again might have shared videos produced by the political action committee with the Perry campaign for free or might not have charged the correct amount, Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 said in a news release.
 

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“The Perry campaign is prohibited from accepting such in-kind contributions with a value exceeding the $2,500 contribution limit and, further, Super PACs are prohibited altogether from making contributions to candidates,” Campaign Legal Center attorney Paul Ryan said in the release.
 
“It appears the Perry campaign and Make Us Great Again likely violated these laws and the FEC needs to investigate.”
 
The two groups, which plan to file a complaint urging investigation with the commission, cite Politico reports as evidence that the groups shared campaign footage. Three portions of footage used in campaign ads created by Make Us Great Again were also used by Perry’s campaign, the release states.
 
The Texas governor’s campaign pulled the footage from the public domain, a spokesman for the campaign told The Hill.
 
Super-PACs, also known as independent expenditure-only committees, are prohibited from donating to or coordinating with candidates. The gift of video production, valued at more than $2,500, would constitute an in-kind donation and likely break general finance laws as well.
 
“The use by the Perry presidential campaign of the same video footage contained in an ad run by the Super PAC supporting Governor Perry raises serious concerns about whether the Super PAC is really independent from the Perry campaign, as required by law,” Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer said in a news release.
 
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Make Us Great Again is headed by former Perry Chief of Staff Mike Toomey and filed with the commission to be an independent expenditure-only committee at the end of July. Paul Kilgore is treasurer for the group.
 
Immediate requests for comment from Make Us Great Again were not returned.
 
— Cameron Joseph contributed.