Arizona: DCCC Hopes to Sting Bee With FEC Action

Posted April 14, 2008 at 6:46pm

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against state Senate President Tim Bee (R), who is challenging Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) in the 8th district.

The DCCC claims that Bee collaborated with an outside organization, which in turn used taxpayer dollars to fund a television ad on his behalf. The DCCC’s complaint also argues that the spot should have included a disclaimer.

“The ad expressly advocates Tim Bee’s election, and is a contribution to him,” reads the DCCC’s complaint.

“The Commission’s regulations define ‘expressly advocating’ to include communications that ‘[w]hen taken as a whole and with limited reference to external events, such as the proximity to the election, could only be interpreted by a reasonable person as containing advocacy of the election or defeat of one or more clearly identified candidate.’”

The spot was run by two school districts to thank Bee for supporting legislation. The ad ran across the southern Arizona 8th district, but beyond the boundaries of Bee’s Senate district.

Vail Education Association President Richard Connet, whose group helped fund the ad — Connet himself appeared in the spot — told the Arizona Daily Star that he knew the ad was going to be used in Bee’s campaign against Giffords.

The Bee campaign disputed the FEC complaint on Monday, saying that it did not coordinate with the groups that ran the ad, and added that it has requested in a statement to the press that the spot be taken down. The National Republican Congressional Committee referred to the DCCC’s complaint as a smoke screen that proved Democrats fear Bee.

“For all of the DCCC’s political theater, this entire saga has done nothing more than to highlight Tim Bee’s bipartisan accomplishments on the issue of education reform,” NRCC spokesman Ken Spain said. “Clearly they worried and rightfully so.”
— David M. Drucker