Home>Campaigns>Amy and Patrick Kennedy to face federal election complaint after dark money allegations

Amy and Patrick Kennedy. Photo courtesy of the ACEs Connection Network.

Amy and Patrick Kennedy to face federal election complaint after dark money allegations

Opponent alleges illegal coordination with super PAC funded entirely by candidate’s husband; seeks federal probe

By David Wildstein, May 30 2020 4:49 pm

A complaint is being filed with the Federal Election Commission alleging that a $500,000 contribution to a dormant dark-money super PAC by former Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-Rhode Island) violated federal law prohibiting by coordinating campaign activities with his wife, Amy Kennedy, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Conrgess in New Jersey’s 2nd district.

The New Jersey Globe first reported on Thursday that Kennedy was the sole donor to a super PAC, Blue Organizing Project, that is backing his wife’s campaign and hurling attacks at one of her opponents, political science professor Brigid Callahan Harrison.

Harrison’s campaign is filing the complaint and noted that during the coronavirus pandemic, Patrick Kennedy’s Brigantine home has served a the base of Amy Kennedy’s campaign.

“By contributing $500,000 to a dark money Super PAC and trying to hide the coordinated expenditures between the Super PAC and the campaign, it is clear that Amy and Patrick Kennedy have broken numerous campaign laws to illegally support his wife’s campaign for Congress,” said Harrison’s campaign manager, Paul Weborg.

The Harrison campaign will ask the Federal Election Commission “to conduct a full investigation into the Kennedy campaign’s coordination and Mr. Kennedy’s political contributions to the Blue Organizing Project Super PAC,” according to Weborg.

“This is a disappointing revelation and a serious legal matter,” Weborg said. “There is no place in our politics to blindly ignore the laws of our country and it is important that everyone plays by the same rules, no matter who you are or what you last name might be.”

The dark-money group is tied to Democratic political consultant Bret Wask, whose firm received a $75,000 payment for attack ads against Harrison.  Reached on Friday, Wask terminated a phone call seeking information about the super PAC.

“Brigid is pulling out one of the oldest political tactics in the book, used by desperate candidates for time immemorial when they know that they are losing,” said Kennedy’s campaign manager, Josh Roesch.  “This allegation has no basis in fact and reeks of the same old South Jersey machine politics that people are sick and tired of.  While Amy has chosen to make her campaign about addressing the most pressing issues of our time and helping the people of her community through the COVID-19 pandemic and detailing how she will fight for the people of South Jersey in Congress, Brigid has spent her time making visceral, personal, negative attacks against Amy and her family.”

Editor’s note: this story was updated at 7:30 PM with comment from the Kennedy campaign.

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