Opinion

Did the NRSC catch Senate Democrats coordinating with Harry Reid's super PAC?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Senate,Harry Reid,New Hampshire,2014 Elections,Super PACs,Jeanne Shaheen,NRSC,DSCC

National Republican Senatorial Committee staffers think they've busted their Democratic counterparts coordinating with an outside super PAC, which is illegal, by sending out "important messages" and Images which provide the basis of attack ads.

Justin Barasky, the national press secretary for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, tweeted an "important message" for New Hampshire voters Wednesday afternoon.

"It linked to a hidden 'message' page on Jeanne Shaheen's website providing what seems to be a script with research and high resolution Images of the senator that would be the type that commonly appear in political ads run by outside groups like Harry Reid's Majority PAC," the NRSC's Brad Dayspring wrote Thursday. "Remember, coordination between the DSCC and these outside groups is prohibited by law."

It's common practice for lawmakers to release high resolution Images and video to the public, when the intended recipient is really their super PAC allies -- just ask Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who bit the bullet and released this unintentionally comical b-roll video of himself -- but DSCC has practically attached a script to the high-resolution Images.

The Shaheen "message" reads like an attack ad against Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown. "More attack ads. Paid for by the Koch Brothers and their special interest money," the message reads. "More proof big oil, the Koch Brothers and Wall Street think they can buy our Senate seat for Scott Brown."

It continues a couple of lines in that fashion before concluding with the terse, incomplete sentences that drive so much of the debate in modern elections: "Jeanne Shaheen. Making a difference for New Hampshire."

Dayspring predicted Thursday that Majority PAC would run an ad based on that script and Imagery; he thinks he's being proven right by the fact that "less than 24 hours after receiving the directive from the DSCC, Senate Majority PAC has reserved hundreds of thousands of dollars of air time in Manchester, New Hampshire."

To buttress the theory, Dayspring notes that when the DSCC's Matt Canter tweeted out an "important message" about North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis' staffers resigning over affairs with lobbyists, the Democratic super PAC followed that up with an ad making the same point. He says that has happened twice in North Carolina and once in Arkansas, when the DSCC tweeted out an "important message" attacking Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. the message hit him for trying to "privatize" Medicare and deleting his insurance industry background from his campaign website; the ad released by a labor union super PAC, Patriot Majority USA, a week and a half later, hit him on the same issues.

"Does anyone believe that these are all coincidences? Of course not," Dayspring wrote. "Does anyone have any thoughts as to what script that Majority PAC's new ad in New Hampshire will follow? We sure don't."

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