Liberal group files complaint against Bush
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A liberal watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission arguing that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has violated campaign finance laws.

The American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF) is arguing that Bush’s Right to Rise leadership PAC is raising money for his presidential exploratory efforts that exceed federal contribution limits.

The filing points to Bush’s Facebook announcement from December, when he announced that he’d actively explore a presidential run and would form a political action committee to “facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation.”


“That is simply not the function of a leadership PAC — it is exploratory activity,” ADLF argues. “Leadership PACs are to be used by candidates and officeholders to raise money to support other candidates, not to supplant the functions of an exploratory or campaign committee.”

In addition, the group argues that Bush is a de facto presidential candidate but that he’s failed to register as a candidate for office.

“Donor pledge forms for Mr. Bush’s leadership PAC indicate that the PAC is encouraging bundlers to raise large sums of money — exceeding $500,000 — to contribute to the leadership PAC,” the filing reads. “There is no legitimate non-campaign purpose for such a large fundraising effort.”

“Mr. Bush has failed to register and report as a candidate despite amassing more funds than what is reasonably expected to ‘test the waters,’ ” the brief concludes.

Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell called the allegations 'frivolous.'

"These are Democrat operatives who set up an organization whose sole purpose is filing frivolous FEC complaints against conservatives and conservative organizations," she said in an email to The Hill. "Governor Bush, the Right to Rise PAC and the Right to Rise Super PAC are all fully complying with the law and following established practice for what political activity PACs and private citizens who are not candidates for office, such as Governor Bush, may engage in."

The ADLF is run by Brad Woodhouse, who is also president of American Bridge, which produces opposition research that’s used in campaign ads against Republicans.

In recent months, ADLF has filed complaints against or called for investigations into New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, all of whom are potential GOP presidential contenders.