Illinois Republican closet case Aaron Schock is pissing off a lot of senior Republicans these days with his interfering in the re-election of Members who were in Congress when he was still playing with dolls back in Peoria. There are now people who are asking aloud if he actually broken any laws when he solicited campaign money for the Campaign for Primary Accountability's attack ads against Republican Congressman Don Manzullo, who Schock, apparently, doesn't find as comely as the much younger Adam Kinzinger who he persuaded Eric Cantor to back.
Last week, Roll Call reported that Cantor donated $25,000 to the Campaign for Primary Accountability as a way of supporting freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill, against fellow Republican Rep. Don Manzullo in a member-versus-member primary in the state's 16th District (The group ultimately spent over $220,000 against Manzullo). According to both Cantor's camp and Schock himself, Cantor cut the check at Schock's request.
That's where Schock treads dangerously close to the line drawn by the FEC. In an advisory opinion issued last year, the FEC says that federal officeholders and candidates "may solicit up to $5,000 from individuals (and any other source not prohibited by the Act from making a contribution to a political committee)" on behalf of super PACs. Candidates may appear at fundraisers on behalf of super PACs, but they cannot be involved in asking for checks larger than $5,000-- the reason Cantor, Mitt Romney, Harry Reid or even President Obama, for that matter, can appear at fundraisers for supportive super PACs, but they have to leave the room before staffers ask for donations in order to raise unlimited sums.
Schock, it seems, directly asked for a contribution well above the limit the FEC allowed... The onus, in solicitation cases, appears to fall on the solicitor, rather than the donor. Cantor's donation upset Republican House members who have either faced or are concerned about facing CPA in the future, but by asking for that specific amount of cash, Schock may have run afoul of the FEC's limit on solicitations to super PACs by a federal candidate or officeholder.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has been personally reaching out to GOP lawmakers to reassure them that he has their backs, despite the fact that he recently gave $25,000 to a group focused on defeating several House Republicans in their primary races, sources close to Cantor said Tuesday.
Cantor has been talking to individual Republicans in his conference-- some are allies, some are running in competitive primaries-- to appease them after what sources say was a staff error last month that resulted in Cantor inadvertently cutting a large check to the Campaign for Primary Accountability, an anti-incumbent super PAC.
As the story goes, sources close to Cantor maintain that he didn't know he was giving money to the Campaign for Primary Accountability when he kicked in $25,000, at the request of Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), to help freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger defeat veteran Rep. Don Manzullo in the GOP primary by matching Schock's donation. The two Illinois Republicans ended up in the same district after congressional redistricting.
"On Thursday, March 15, 2012, Leader Cantor was asked by Congressman Schock to contribute to an organization that was supporting Adam Kinzinger in the Illinois election of March 20. EricPAC [the PAC supporting Cantor] subsequently made a contribution with the understanding that those funds would be used only in the effort to support Congressman Kinzinger. Leader Cantor does not support the actions of this organization in any other election," Ray Allen, a political consultant for Cantor, said in a statement.
Campaign for Primary Accountability spokesman Curtis Ellis said the group didn?t get any word of Cantor's check and wasn't told it was supposed to be earmarked specifically for the Manzullo-Kinzinger race. As such, the funds were spread around and used in other primary races in which the group has been running campaigns.
"We didn't know beforehand that Eric was sending money to be used against Manzullo. Had he told us, we would have said, 'Great, send it over,'" Ellis said. "We're happy to accept donations from anyone, with the donation that they give being dedicated to specific races."
...The irony is that while Cantor may have believed his funds were being earmarked for a specific race, they may actually be hurting Republicans he does support and helping Democrats he doesn?t.
In the Pennsylvania Democratic primary between Holden and attorney Matt Cartwright, for example, Cartwright spokesman Shane Seaver described his candidate as the "progressive" in the race and said "we don't appreciate" help from the Campaign for Primary Accountability.
Holden could "run an ad and say Eric Cantor has decided to donate to Matt's campaign,? Seaver said, suggesting such a move would be disingenuous. ?It's something that we've always been leery about.?