Republicans and outside groups reportedly figured out a way during the midterm elections to share internal polling information in a way that stretches what’s allowed under election law, according to CNN’s Chris Moody.
Basically, Twitter accounts were set up to share internal polling data with outside groups like super PACs and nonprofits. The accounts weren’t secretive per se, since the profiles were set up as public, but they also allegedly used a secret code to pass along the polling information. One such tweet, according to CNN, read “CA-40/43-44/49-44/44-50/36-44/49-10/16/14-52–>49/476-10s.” It seems like a random set of numbers unless you know that that’s actually polling data for House races in California.
American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-founded super PAC, the nonprofit American Action Network and the National Republican Congressional Committee, were following the Twitter accounts CNN highlighted. The accounts were in use in the months leading up to the midterm elections and they were deleted shortly after CNN reached out to the NRCC about them.
One of the accounts was @brunogianelli44, named after the fictional character Bruno Gianelli in The West Wing who advocated to use “soft money” to help campaigns. Another account was named @truthtrain14.
Super PACS and outside groups can legally engage in politics if they don’t coordinate with campaigns. That includes directly sharing internal polls which could direct an outside group to spend its money other attention. Those using Twitter to post the numbers might be attempting to get around such laws.
“It’s a line that has not been defined,” Paul S. Ryan, a senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, told CNN. “It might not be legal. It’s a cutting edge practice that, to my knowledge, the Federal Election Commission has never before addressed to explicitly determine its legality or permissibility.”
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