The President’s flagship political action committee paid more than $900,000 to a digital data firm connected to President Donald Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale, according to reports from ABC News and CNN Friday evening.
Citing campaign finance records, ABC News reported that the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action has paid Red State $909,871 with much of that money spent on midterm congressional candidates ahead of the 2018 midterms.
Parscale told ABC News, who first reported the finding, that the contractor, called Red State Data and Digital, LLC, was not a secret and that the firm complied with election laws. Parscale added that it was primarily working to support congressional candidates during the 2018 midterms.
“Complaints about Red State are simply another attempt to smear President Trump by attacking those who work for him,” Parscale said.
ABC News notes that Parscale had not previously discussed his interest in the firm Red State Data and Digital, LLC, which began doing website development and digital fundraising work for America First Action, Inc., in March 2018 — only weeks after Parscale started his position as the campaign manager for Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.
Parscale told ABC News that the firm is an offshoot of Parscale Strategy LLC and said his wife has long served as a bookkeeper for his businesses. Parscale and his wife Candice later told CNN that he owns the company even though she is listed on legal paperwork.
Parscale also told CNN that he hadn’t originally wanted to disclose his ownership publicly because there are no available records connecting him to the company.
“Red State is a valued vendor that provides us with digital consulting services at a competitive rate,” America First Action spokesperson Kelly Sadler told ABC News. “America First strictly complies with FEC rules and regulations and any suggestion otherwise is patently false.”
It is legally required for campaigns to avoid coordinating their messages and spending with political action committees. Parscale told ABC News that he was aware of legalities when he created Red State to take over work that Parscale Strategy had been doing for the pro-Trump super PAC.
“This is a perfectly legal and appropriate arrangement, which is firewalled, with zero chance for coordination,” Parscale said. “There could not possibly be coordination because the ads placed were for other candidates in the 2018 midterms.”