When SuperPACs Attack
Last week, we called for an investigation into potentially illegal campaign activity between a Texas-based SuperPAC and the mayoral campaign of David Fox. The SuperPAC is funded by Fox’s wealthy hedge fund investor brother, George Fox.
But, we didn’t just point out the evidence that we believe constitutes illegal coordination — we filed a formal complaint with the Davidson County District Attorney.
It’s bad enough that out-of-state SuperPACs are trying to influence Tennessee elections — but when illegal coordination occurs, as it likely did in this case, we aren’t going to stand idly by.
We’ll investigate. We’ll gather evidence. And when the facts demand it, we’ll file formal complaints.
Tennessee elections should be free and fair and those seeking to hold public office should play by the rules.
We served notice last week that we won’t tolerate anything less. And you know what? People notice:
From WSMV-TV in Nashville:
Tennessee Citizen Action questions if there was collusion. They pointed out that the PAC’s office in Austin, TX, is close to the office of Fox’s political consultant. The group also questions the time of some TV ads.
“Additionally, we found evidence that the Fox campaign’s TV media buying tapered off at the same time the Super PAC ramped up their TV spending,” said Gerad Stranch, legal advisor for Tennessee Citizen Action.
But George Fox put half a million dollars into an outside campaign to place ads for Fox and against his opponents in the general election. Federal rules allow Super PACs to do this, but only if there’s no coordination with the candidate.
“Frankly, it’s just not believable that your brother would spend $500,000 helping you get elected, and you wouldn’t know about it,” Gerard Stranch, attorney for Tennessee Citizen Action, said during a press conference.
What did Citizen SuperPAC and David Fox have to say about all this?
Instead of providing any concrete evidence or answering any of the charges leveled in the 3-page complaint, the SuperPAC issued a statement attacking Tennessee Citizen Action and calling the complaint “frivolous.”
David Fox’s campaign manager labeled the complaint “fake.”
Frankly, voters in Nashville deserve better. If no coordination or other illegal activity occurred, the Fox Brothers should sit for depositions as we requested. Otherwise, a prompt and thorough investigation should be conducted by the District Attorney.
Tennessee Citizen Action is serious about election integrity.