Republicans and outside groups used anonymous Twitter accounts to share internal polling data ahead of the midterm elections, CNN has learned, a practice that raises questions about whether they violated campaign finance laws that prohibit coordination.
The Twitter accounts were hidden in plain sight. The profiles were publicly available but meaningless without knowledge of how to find them and decode the information, according to a source with knowledge of the activities.
The practice is the latest effort in the quest by political operatives to exploit the murky world of campaign finance laws at a time when limits on spending in politics are eroding and regulators are being defanged.
The law says that outside groups, such as super PACs and non-profits, can spend freely on political causes as long as they don’t coordinate their plans with campaigns. Sharing costly internal polls in private, for instance, could signal to the campaign committees where to focus precious time and resources.
But its not just the R’s:
The social media strategy isn’t the first time parties and outside groups have used Twitter to communicate. In April, it was Republicans who accused Democrats of attempting to “subvert campaign finance laws” when the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s official Twitter accounts posted messages that Democratic super PACs later incorporated into their ads.
And both parties are working hard to find ways to work more closely with well-financed outside groups.