The Hill: Watchdog groups to file complaint against Montana candidate alleging coordination with NRA (In the News)

The Hill: Watchdog groups to file complaint against Montana candidate alleging coordination with NRA

By Lisa Hagen

Campaign finance watchdog groups are planning to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) asking it to investigate whether Montana GOP Senate nominee Matt Rosendale and the National Rifle Association (NRA) were illegally coordinating.

The Campaign Legal Center and Giffords, the nonprofit political arm of former Rep. Gabby Giffords’s (D-Ariz.) organization, said it is filing the complaint on Friday or Monday. 

The complaint is being filed after the Daily Beast published audio it obtained that suggests Rosendale knew the NRA would be involved in the marquee Senate race, saying it had obtained it from an unspecified July event in Washington, D.C. …

But Brad Smith, a former Republican FEC commissioner who was nominated by President Clinton, said he doesn’t believe this is coordination. He added that based on the transcript of the audio, it didn’t appear that Rosendale and his campaign were involved in “crafting the message” of the ad.

“There’s nobody following politics for more than 30 seconds that doesn’t know that in Montana, gun rights and the Supreme Court nomination are going to be important issues,” Smith told The Hill. “It doesn’t rise to that level of material involvement in the kind of plans of sharing information and working in concert.”

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