Thursday, May 3, 2012

State GOP Files Fed Complaint Against Independent Source PAC

The state Republican Party has formally complained to the Federal Election Commission about Independent Source PAC, an Albuquerque-based political organization that has produced ads and reports critical of Gov. Susana Martinez.

According to a news release emailed this afternoon:

* ISPAC is committing fraud by stating to the FEC that it is making independent expenditures to promote President Obama, when the clear purpose of its expenditures and commercials is to smear Republican elected officials and candidates at the state and local level, and on issues that have nothing to do with the Presidential campaign, such as the law to repeal driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.

* ISPAC committed the fraud in order to avoid New Mexico state laws, which places limits on PACs engaged in these activities at the state level.

* ISPAC has illegally failed to file numerous required disclosure reports with the Federal Elections Commission.

* ISPAC's commercials break federal law by failing to make proper disclosures to the public.

 The complaint, as well as the press release can be found HERE,  

Independent Source PAC is headed by Michael Corwin, a private investigator who has worked for former Gov. Bill Richardson and other Democrats. According to filings with the FEC, it is funded entirely by the Communications Workers of America.

I've asked Corwin for comment and will post that when I receive it.

UPDATE: 5:40 pm I still haven't heard from Corwin, but I should add that in addition to being registered as a federal PAC, the group also is registered with the state. Last month the PAC reported to the Secretary of State that it collected just over $11,000 between October and March from several contributors. The PAC reported spending $3,275 on radio advertising in October.

According to the most recent FEC report, the PAC spent nearly $129,000 on cable TV advertising. The report says it was for President Obama, which the state GOP says is false.

Another UPDATE 9:15 pm.  Here's what Corwin told me earlier tonight:

He said that the ads that ran this year criticizing Martinez were for the purpose of helping Obama. The governor, he said, has been touted as a potential GOP vice presidential candidate and also was being groomed to be a key Republican spokeswoman to try to lure Hispanic votes away from Obama.

Corwin contended that his PAC’s ads — especially one claiming the administration improperly awarded a state fair horse racing contract to political supporters — ensured Martinez would not play a major role in the presidential campaign.

He also argued that federal courts have ruled that independent groups like his aren’t bound by such caps.