Forget hurricanes and humidity — a clear and present danger to our country is invading Tampa, Florida this week — the staff of Republican super PACs. Presumably, their Democratic counterparts will be making a similar pilgrimage to Charlotte, North Carolina next week. As Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times reports:
”Why did the “super PAC” go to Tampa? Because that is where the money is.”
But of course, there must be some sort of limit to this type of blatant super PAC fraternization, right? After all, any well informed follower of American campaign finance law knows that “coordination” between super PACs and campaigns is strictly forbidden! Right?
“Tucked away amid the parties, speeches and junkets on Wednesday was a private breakfast briefing thrown by Restore Our Future, the super PAC that helped Mitt Romney win the Republican nomination and now hopes to help him win the White House. The group, founded by three former Romney aides, set up shop at the Vinoy Renaissance resort in St. Petersburg, the same hotel booked by Mr. Romney’s campaign and the Republican National Committee to house top “bundlers” and donors.”
Sounds like shootin’ fish in a barrel! But luckily for GOP candidates, Restore Our Future isn’t the only dark money sugar daddy in the Tampa this week…
“All the super PACs are here,” said Carl Forti, who was political director of Mr. Romney’s 2008 and campaign and now directs Restore Our Future’s more than $100 million budget of political ads. “You’ve got hyper-interested people, you’ve got the major donors of the party here. So it’s a great time for us to talk to them and tell them what our plans are.”
The rest of Mr. Confessore’s post almost reads like a fictional parody of The Real Housewives of The GOP, crossed with traditional political journalism... But once again, just as a public service announcement, Restore our Future is definitely not coordinating with anyone they’re not allowed to be coordinating with:
“As donors exited, a Restore aide, mindful of a reporter taking notes outside, encouraged guests to hide their name tags under their jackets. Outside the room, Mr. McCarthy, pressed by one potential donor about coordination rules, gave a quick pep talk about the rules of the road and noted that the group worked closely with American Crossroads, a super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, for which Mr. Forti also consults.
“You can’t coordinate with the R.N.C., and you can’t coordinate with Mitt,” Mr. McCarthy explained to the guest. “But we coordinate very closely with Karl.”
Independents — keep your eye out for a retread version of this post during the Democratic Convention next week from the Wall Street Journal criticizing Democrats for wooing their respective big dollar donors. You can even pre-write a draft yourself! Here’s some simple rules:
- Whenever you see “Restore Our Future,” replace with “Priorities USA”
- Whenever you see “Karl Rove,” replace with “George Soros”
- Whenever you see “Carl Forti,” replace with “David Axelrod” or “James Carville”
- Whenever you see “American Crossroads,” replace with “Priorities USA Action”