New video from James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas exposes a system called the “Pony Express,” which Democratic consultants allegedly use to relay messages between Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and a constellation of super-PACs funded by wealthy donors.
By law, campaigns are not permitted to coordinate with super PACs, especially in advertising, spending, and strategy, though they may communicate limited information about fundraising.
The Hillary Clinton campaign is well aware of the legal boundaries. The Wikileaks email trove produced a legal memorandum addressed to Hillary For America (HFA), explaining what types of communication are permitted and prohibited under federal campaign finance laws. It notes:
Communications between HFA and Priorities should generally be limited to each entity’s finance directors – Dennis Cheng (HFA) and Justin Brennan (Priorities). Communications between Dennis and Justin should be limited to fundraising; they should not discuss polling, research, or other nonpublic strategic information or plans pertaining to either organization’s communications or spending. Moreover, we understand that Justin is not privy to Priorities’ nonpublic strategic information or plans, which adds an additional layer of protection.
However, the communications described by Democracy Partners consultant Scott Foval arguably go far beyond that. According to Foval, a network of consultants maintains the “Pony Express,” which he describes as “a text conversation that never ends.” The information exchanged apparently includes strategy regarding “bird-dogging,” a practice where trained activists infiltrate Republican rallies and try to provoke violence.
The dialogue between Foval and an undercover Project Veritas journalist is as follows:
FOVAL: We have a clip deliverable that we have to deliver every day for our groups of clients who are involved in this project: AUFC; A4C, which is Alliance for Change; Alliance for Retired Americans, which is part of AFL-CIO — they’re one of our partners on the AUFC stuff … Depends on the issue. And then there’s the DNC, and the campaigns, and Priorities [USA]. Priorities is a big part of this, too. The campaigns and DNC cannot coordinate with Priorities, but I guaran-damn-tee you that the people who run the Super PACs all talk to each other, and we and a few other people are the hubs of that communication.
PV: Like, so, you’re kind of like —
PV: — intermediaries between the Super PACs and the DNC. But the DNC, they can’t talk to each other. But you guys are kind of like —
FOVAL: We’re consultants, so we’re not the official entity. And so those conversations can be had between consultants who are working for different parts. That’s why there’s Bob, who’s the primary there, and I’m a sub to him. And I’m also a primary to AUFC separately, that’s why.
PV: So there’s like a Morse code between the DNC and that Super PACs.And you guys —
FOVAL: It’s less of a Morse code than it is a text conversation that never ends. It’s like that. It’s kind of like an ongoing “Pony Express.” It’s not as official as it could be, but that’s because the law doesn’t allow it to be.
Former Federal Election Commission member Hans van Spakovsky told Breitbart News via e-mail that the “Pony Express” may be illegal, and possibly even criminal:
This undercover video describes a text-messaging chain of communications between the Clinton presidential campaign and Democracy Partners and other super PACs that they call the Pony Express. If they are coordinating their activities as described then it is a blatant violation of federal campaign finance law. And the Pony Express communication system shows an intentional and knowing violation of the law, which constitutes a criminal violation not just a civil violation. The arrogance displayed in the videos about deliberately and intentionally breaking the law is truly shocking.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.