01:03 - Source: CNN
"The Good Wife" tackles loophole exposed in CNN investigation
Washington CNN —  

Alicia Florrick’s fictional campaign is stealing a line from Republicans’ real-world playbook.

Sunday’s episode of “The Good Wife,” a CBS show about the travails of a political spouse, revealed that staffers on Florrick’s campaign for Cook County State’s Attorney used anonymous Twitter accounts to secretly share polling information with a political action committee.

If that sounds familiar, it should.

A CNN investigation in November found that Republicans and outside groups shared internal polling data ahead of the midterm elections, a practice that raised questions about whether they violated campaign finance laws that prohibit coordination.

The similarities are uncanny in this ripped-from-the-headlines episode.

In both instances, the Twitter anonymous accounts are named after characters from the NBC series “The West Wing.” Republicans named their account after Bruno Gianelli while the Florrick account was named after Toby Ziegler. And they both used a string of letters and numbers – without any context – to transmit polling data.

Florrick, played by Julianna Margulies, confronted her staffers about the practice.

“It’s a code,” Florrick says. “It’s a message to the PAC, telling them where to focus soft money.”
“It’s not illegal!” responds campaign hand Josh Mariner (David Krumholtz). “It’s a loophole in the campaign laws,”

Florick then instructs her team to use their “decoder ring and your West wing tweets” to send another message to the PAC.

In real life, Republicans never talked publicly about their tweeting. But the accounts were deleted shortly after CNN brought them to light.