01:52 - Source: CNN
Republicans, outside groups use Twitter to go around election law

Story highlights

CNN reported Monday that NRCC, outside groups shared information on anonymous Twitter accounts

Election experts say the practice could violate campaign finance laws

NRCC chairman to CNN: "I don't know anything about it"

Washington CNN  — 

Top officials at the campaign committee for House Republicans said Tuesday they weren’t aware of anonymous Twitter accounts that were used ahead of the midterms to share internal polling data with outside groups, potentially violating campaign finance laws.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Oregon GOP Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, told CNN Tuesday.

CNN reported Monday that NRCC and at least two outside groups – American Crossroads and American Action Network – masked their identities through anonymous Twitter accounts to share information about House races. Campaign finance experts said that pushed the limits of election laws that bar coordination between campaigns and outside groups, such as super PACs and nonprofits.

Walden said he had heard about his group’s involvement only after the CNN report so he couldn’t comment in detail.

When asked if he planned to investigate the behavior within the NRCC, Walden said he would “look into it” internally. He suggested, however, that it wasn’t a priority.

“We’ve got a few other things going on officially around here that I’ve got to deal with,” he said.

According to a source with knowledge of the activity, the groups posted internal polling data in shorthand on Twitter, a public forum, to avoid the appearance of coordination. The accounts, however, were not publicly affiliated with any of the groups who viewed or posted to them.

While Walden denied knowledge of his group’s activities, he defended the practice briefly when pressed about whether he thought using the accounts was appropriate.

“Publicly shared information is publicly shared information,” Walden said.

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the NRCC vice-chair in charge of digital operations, also said he was unaware that this was happening.

“It’s the first I’ve ever heard of it,” he told CNN.

It remains unclear whether the Federal Election Commission, the regulatory body charged with enforcing campaign finance laws, intends to address the groups’ actions. FEC vice-chair Ann Ravel wrote Monday on Twitter that proving coordination occurred would be difficult because election laws are “sadly murky.”