By: Jack Torry
An independent organization which has endorsed Democrat Danny O’Connor has complained the campaign of U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson and the National Republican Congressional Committee both violated federal law when they aired a TV commercial last week that was partly financed by the NRCC.
The group, which calls itself “End Citizens United,” charged in an eight-page complaint with the Federal Election Commission that by splitting the $355,000 cost of the commercial with the NRCC, the NRCC and Balderson campaign violated the law by essentially financially propping up Balderson’s campaign.
The NRCC is the campaign committee for House Republicans and is headed by Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington.
To make the commercial legal, the group said, the advertisement needed to include language urging voters to support Balderson and the Republican Party as a whole. When the TV commercial was aired last week, a Balderson spokesman said it was financed by Balderson and the NRCC, which is known as a hybrid commercial.
The way the commercial was financed, however, is yet another sign that Balderson has had difficulty raising money in his campaign against O’Connor.
Chris Winkelman, the general counsel for the NRCC, said, “This partisan complaint is entirely baseless. Hybrid ads are widely used and common practice for national party committees since 2004.”
“During the last election cycle the FEC took no action” against the the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee “for their hybrid ads despite receiving over a dozen complaints,” Winkelman said. “Since then, the DCCC has taken full advantage of this common practice.”
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, in Citizens United v. FEC that the Constitution prohibited the federal government from imposing limits on how much money corporations and labor unions could spend on political commercials.
End Citizens United is an independent progressive organization working to have the court re-visit the decision and eventually overturn it.