VoteVets, a progressive political action committee (PAC), came to the aid of Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) by releasing an ad Wednesday that employs b-roll footage created by Peters’ campaign, thus circumventing prohibitions on campaign coordination.
The progressive PAC backing Democrats on issues such as foreign policy and veterans’ employment released the ad in support of Peters.
While the video may seem innocuous to most viewers, the video actually contains b-roll footage created by Peters’ reelection campaign.
Viewers could notice that the 18-second mark of the VoteVets ad lines up with the 23-second mark of the b-roll footage. The 26-second mark of the VoteVets ad also matches that of the two-minute, 40-second mark of the b-roll footage.
Many campaigns, and perhaps Peters’ campaign, often post b-roll footage online as a strategy to circumvent federal election laws preventing coordination between political campaigns and outside entities. Independent political groups, such as super PACs, can download the video that is posted publicly online by the campaign and can use it to support the candidate because the video was obtained in a public forum.
Republicans have contended that Peters has started fretting after polls have shown a statistical dead heat between him and Senate Republican candidate, combat veteran, and businessman John James.
Peters faces a tough reelection campaign against James. Recent polling has found the race to be a toss-up. The Cook Political Report has moved Peters’ reelection campaign from “Likely Democrat” to “Lean Democrat” as James continues to rise in the polls.
“Sen. Peters can run ads of himself inside of busy command centers as much he wants and it won’t change reality,” said Ted Goodman, a Republican political operative who most recently served as communications director to Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN) and was John James’s communications director in 2018. “It’s clear by the videos Peters is putting out that he’s concerned James’s heroic military service and successful business record will resonate. Peters is panicking and desperately trying to redefine himself with the help of liberal special interest groups.”