A conservative group filed a complaint against Sen. Claire McCaskill on Thursday, accusing her of violating federal campaign finance laws to beat Todd Akin in Missouri’s 2012 Senate race.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a conservative government watchdog group, submitted a complaint to the Federal Election Commission saying that McCaskill attempted to illegally influence who would be her opponent in the Senate race by sharing valuable polling data with the Akin campaign.
“Senate McCaskill did not simply meddle in another party’s primary, rather she crossed the legal line and made a prohibited donation in violation of federal law,” said Matthew Whitaker, executive director of the group, in the complaint.
The complaint says McCaskill admitted to helping Akin win the Republican primary because she believed she could beat him in the general election. The Missouri senator wrote in a passage from her book “Plenty Ladylike” – which was excerpted in Politico this week — sharing how she spent $40,000 polling Missouri Republicans, and that staffers on the Akin campaign spoke with McCaskill’s pollster.
Federal law limits in-kind campaign donations to $2,500, a figure the complaint says McCaskill violated by allowing her pollster to share data with the Akin campaign.
“By providing polling data and information, Senator McCaskill made an in-kind donation to a candidate that appears to be in violation of federal law,” Whitaker wrote.
Aides to McCaskill dismissed the complaint, saying no laws were broken and no polling data was shared with the Akin campaign.
“This is just silly. If there was something to hide, I’m pretty sure that it would not have been included in the book,” said John LaBombard, a spokesman for McCaskill.
Akin’s 2012 campaign memorably garnered controversy with his comments about rape and abortion.
CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to clarify where McCaskill first referenced giving polling data to Akin’s campaign.