Dems Accused Of Illegally Colluding Via Progressive Data Firm
A Democratic data firm may be illegally supporting and coordinating with the Democratic Party and its operatives, a new conservative ethics watchdog alleged Friday.
Catalist provides voter data and analysis for progressive organizations including the Democratic National Committee, dozens of members of Congress, the Clinton campaign and its advisers and outside political groups, such as Democratic political action committees.
The watchdog group, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, accused Catalist of illegally giving clients a discounted rate, and serving as a platform for Democratic allies — barred by law from cooperating — to work together in their campaign and advocacy efforts, reported the Washington Free Beacon.
FACT outlined the allegations in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission Friday.
If a person or business gives a political entity something for a price that is below the market rate, that’s considered an “in-kind contribution,” and must be disclosed to the FEC.
FACT alleges Catalist’s clients have been getting those donations from Catalist, but have not been disclosing them properly. Catalist is offering clients a special reduced rate and acts as a “seamless link across the activist left” by providing candidate client lists and voter files to its network, FACT says in the complaint.
Outside political groups can spend money on behalf of a candidate, but cannot coordinate with that candidate in any way. FACT asks the FEC to investigate whether paying for and using Catalist’s services constitute as coordination with politicians, and is therefore illegal.
FACT also asks the FEC to investigate the relationship between the DNC and Catalist, because the firm’s founder, Harold Ickes, sits on a key DNC committee. Ickes served as Bill Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and has served on the board of a Super PAC — Ready for Hillary — working to get her elected in 2016.
Ickes founded Catalist in 2005 after George W. Bush defeated John Kerry in the presidential election, and currently serves as the firm’s president.
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