Apologies to those who read our site to get away from Trump stories, but I assure you that this story involves minimal Trump. If you’ve been following this thing closely, you know that the rhetoric between Jeb and Donald two has been heating up. Just this week, Bush even accused Trump of being a double agent-Clinton operative, a thought that makes sense but would sound better coming from a candidate that doesn’t already look desperate.
Well, now we’re getting legal involved, and shade is being tossed all over the place because that’s what lawyers do.
According to the Washington Post, Jeb’s leadership PAC filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Trump on Wednesday, accusing the Trump campaign of “illegally accepting corporate funds by using the Trump Organization’s legal counsel to fire off cease-and-desist letters to critics.” The complaint is in response to a letter Bush’s PAC received from the Trump Organization’s general counsel which threatened “immediate legal action” if the PAC produced ads attacking Trump.
Okay, this just seems like classic Trump going after critics, right? He has after all gone completely nuclear on critics in the past with personal attacks (Megyn Kelly), but the Trump Organization’s general counsel, Alan Garten, seems to have been less than tactical when choosing who to go after.
From the Washington Post:
Garten sent the letter to the Right to Rise PAC, a leadership PAC that has made contributions to Republican candidates, instead of to its sister super PAC, Right to Rise USA, which has begun running a television spot hammering Trump and other GOP candidates as unqualified to be commander in chief.
This rookie mistake drew no small amount of derision from Charlie Spies and James E. Tyrrell III, the attorneys for the PAC. In a letter to Garten Wednesday, the lawyers urged him to consult the FEC website “to familiarize yourself about the differences between Leadership PACs and Super PACs.” Or, they suggested, he could skim two key federal court decisions in 2010 that paved the way for the creation of super PACs. “They are both very helpful and might clear up some of your confusion,” they wrote.
Without diving into the nuances of campaign finance law, something none of us want right now, it’s important to know that federal candidates are not allowed to use corporate resources for campaign purposes. That’s why when the pro-Bush Leadership PAC received a cease and desist from the Trump Organization, Trump’s LLC, they were most likely chomping at the bit.
In response, Bush PAC attorneys took the gloves off and went full Bills Mafia on team Trump.
It is possible you are confusing RTR with any number of federal independent expenditure-only committees (i.e. “SuperPAC’s”) that have exercised their First Amendment rights to educate the public about your client’s public statements and stances on important public policy issues. We suggest you consult the Federal Election Commission’s (“FEC”) website (www.fec.gov) to familiarize yourself about the differences between Leadership PAC’s and Super PAC’s, or perhaps skim through the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC or the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Speechnow.org v. FEC. They are both very helpful and might clear up some of your confusion.
“This is gettin’ good now.” -T. Swift
We are intrigued (but not surprised) by your continued efforts to silence critics of your client’s campaign by employing litigious threats and bullying. Should your client actually be elected Commander-in-Chief, will you be the one writing the cease and desist letters to Vladimir Putin, or will that be handled by outside counsel?…
Oh, shit. Bringing Putin into this? This has to be on the highlight reel of this dude’s career.
“If you have time between bankruptcy filings and editing reality show contracts, we urge you to flip through the Supreme Court’s decision in New York Times v. Sullivan. If your client is so thin-skinned that he cannot handle his critics’ presentation of his own public statements, policies and record to the voting public, and if such communications hurts his feelings, he is welcome to purchase airtime to defend his record. After all, a wall can be built around many things, but not around the First Amendment.”
This has to be the most fun this lawyer will ever have. This is peak pissing contest stuff, guys. Shots were indeed fired.
Just as your client is attempting to quickly learn the basics of foreign policy, we wish you personally the best in your attempts to learn election law…
I think we all learned a valuable lesson today. If you’re going to take a swing at Jeb, make sure you do your homework. Or at least make sure the guy you paid to take a swing at Jeb did his homework. .
Read both letters in full here.
[via Washington Post]