— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) December 6, 2018
— Olga Lautman (@olgaNYC1211) December 6, 2018
The appropriately named Mike Spies at Mother Jones has the details (emphasis mine):
The National Rifle Association spent $30 million to help elect Donald Trump—more than any other independent conservative group. Most of that sum went toward television advertising, but a political message loses its power if it fails to reach the right audience at the right time. For the complex and consequential task of placing ads in key markets across the nation in 2016, the NRA turned to a media strategy firm called Red Eagle Media.
One element of Red Eagle’s work for the NRA involved purchasing a slate of 52 ad slots on WVEC, the ABC affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia, in late October 2016. The ads targeted adults aged 35 to 64 and aired on local news programs and syndicated shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. In paperwork filed with the Federal Communications Commission, Red Eagle described them as “anti-Hillary” and “pro-Trump.”
The Trump campaign pursued a strikingly similar advertising strategy. Shortly after the Red Eagle purchase, as Election Day loomed, it bought 33 ads on the same station, set to air during the same week. The ads, which the campaign purchased through a firm called American Media & Advocacy Group (AMAG), were aimed at precisely the same demographic as the NRA spots, and often ran during the same shows, bombarding Norfolk viewers with complementary messages.
The two purchases may have looked coincidental; Red Eagle and AMAG appear at first glance to be separate firms. But each is closely connected to a major conservative media-consulting firm called National Media Research, Planning and Placement. In fact, the three outfits are so intertwined that both the NRA’s and the Trump campaign’s ad buys were authorized by the same person: National Media’s chief financial officer, Jon Ferrell.
When an outside group and a candidate use the same vendor, staffers working for either client are prevented by law from sharing information with each other. Typically, such vendors make staffers sign a company “firewall” policy, which functions as a pledge not to coordinate and an acknowledgment that there are civil and criminal penalties for doing so. Under the law, National Media staffers working for Trump should have been siloed from those working for the NRA. Documents suggest, instead, a synchronized effort.
We identified at least four current or former National Media employees, including CFO Jon Ferrell, who are named in FCC filings as representatives of both the Trump campaign and the NRA during the final stretch of the 2016 presidential election.
The FEC has the authority to launch investigations and seek civil penalties, but it’s unlikely that the NRA or the Trump campaign will face any official action. The FEC’s four commissioners—it is supposed to have six—have been deadlocked for years in an ideological split, making the unanimous vote required for significant investigations almost impossible to achieve.
Much more at the link!
If you’re wondering who broke the FEC, the answer is Don McGahn. And how did he get on the FEC, the answer to that is his partner in judicial nominations Mitch McConnell (emphasis mine).
Before McGahn joined the Trump White House in January 2017—after serving as Trump’s campaign lawyer—he was appointed by George W. Bush to the Federal Election Commission from 2008 to 2013. While there, critics say McGahn single-handedly presided over the destruction of one of the two US agencies responsible for insuring that the US’s elections remain truly democratic.
McGahn was handpicked by then Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell for the FEC, recalls Ann M. Ravel, who served on the commission from 2013 to 2017. Once there, he quickly whipped Republicans into a solid voting bloc that nearly always opposed additional regulation, oversight, or even investigation. Because the FEC needs four of six commissioner votes to take any action, the net result was a completely broken agency, incapable of enforcing any election laws.
“His entire tenure at the FEC was to decimate the ability of the commission to fulfill its job,” Ravel said. Adav Noti, the FEC’s former associate general counsel, said McGahn may have been the most influential FEC commissioner of the century.
What an amazing coincidence!!!!!!
And remember, we’re still not sure what Russia’s connection to the NRA actually entailed. Though we’re going to find out soon!
Russian agent Maria Butina and prosecutors just canceled the rest of her pre-trial motions with the DC district court.
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) December 6, 2018
Also, is there no one who works for the President who isn’t directly related to someone involved in organized crime?!?!?
And everytime McGahn comes up I love to remind people his uncle ‘Paddy’ McGahn was Trumps lawyer in the 80s and helped arrange a deal between Trump and the mob and of course Kellyanne’s grandfather was also involved w the mob. Perfect fit for Trump https://t.co/denVK2Jj3C
— Olga Lautman (@olgaNYC1211) December 6, 2018
Stay on target!