One Wisconsin Now Files Federal Elections Commission Complaint Against Rep. Paul Ryan

Asks for Determination Ryan Improperly Using Congressional Campaign Funds to Boost GOP Presidential Ticket in Key Swing State

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MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin Now today filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission alleging U.S. Representative and GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan is improperly using Congressional campaign funds to boost the Republican Presidential ticket. Ryan, who has claimed he has a 25-point lead in the U.S. House race according to a poll released by his campaign, is pouring at least $2 million into television ads, in which the candidate never mentions he is running for Congress, in the two largest media markets in the state.

“Wisconsin is widely considered to be a key swing state in the presidential election, and many pundits and political observers viewed the selection of Ryan as an attempt to boost the GOP campaign here. I don’t think they had in mind Ryan would possibly violate federal campaign finance laws to do it,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

According to the FEC’s 2011 publication Congressional Candidates and Committees, “No transfers of funds or assets may be made between a candidate’s separate campaign committees while the candidate is ‘actively seeking’ more than one office at the same time. 110.3(c)(5) and 110.8(d)(2).”

Ross said, “It’s perfectly legal for Paul Ryan to run for Congress and Vice-President at the same time. But he crosses a legal line if, as it appears with his television ads, he uses congressional campaign funds to promote his run on the GOP presidential ticket.”

In the complaint filed with the FEC, One Wisconsin Now noted that:

  • The $2 million television ad buy in the two largest media markets in Wisconsin roughly double the largest amount spent on TV ads by the campaign over the last decade;
  • Ryan is making this buy despite the district being made considerably “safer” for Republicans after redistricting and after releasing of a poll commissioned by the campaign reporting Ryan held a 25 point (58-33) advantage; and
  • In none of the five ads released to date by the campaign, all featuring Congressman Ryan talking to the camera, does the candidate mention he is currently a U.S. Representative, running for re-election to that office or make an appeal to voters for their support in his election for U.S. Representative.

Ross concluded, “The tactics employed by Ryan with his television advertising are totally consistent with the entire Romney-Ryan campaign strategy saying one thing, like ‘protecting’ Medicaid or creating opportunity for the middle class, while the truth is decidedly different and destructive to the middle class.”

A copy of the letter sent to the Federal Election Commission Wednesday by One Wisconsin Now, is available here.

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One Wisconsin Now specializes in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.