So what exactly is the deal with the Republicans' new outreach project, the National Council for a New America, and how is it complying with the letter and spirit of ethics rules and guidelines for financing?
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Roll Call explored the topic on Monday looking at how the NCNA's spending has been bifurcated. Its main Web site is hosted on Cantor's official House Web site, and his staff have helped build the site, while other aspects such as its recent town hall event have been paid for out of campaign funds. In a follow-up editorial, they called on House Minority Whip Eric Cantor to refund his House account with campaign money for whatever has been spent on this, and for the ethics rules to be revised against this whole thing.
Jan Baran, an ethics attorney advising the group, referred any questions regarding the editorial to Cantor's office. In turn, Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring gives us this comment: "As Roll Call reported, the NCNA is in compliance with the law and House ethics rules just like other congressional groups such as the Progressive Caucus, the Democratic Caucus, Republican Conference, and the Blue Dog Coalition."
I spoke with Meredith McGehee, policy director for the Campaign Legal Center, and she had some tough things to say about it, saying that it went against the overriding principles of the ethics guidelines: "This may be legally permissible, but it's a pretty tortured reading of the rules."