So how is that a super PAC that’s legally barred from coordinating with its favored congressional candidate, state Rep. Brendan Boyle, gets high quality, professionally shot video of the candidate talking with voters for its ads?
The super PAC finds the video on the Internet, right where the candidate left it.
“To circumvent the law legally, campaigns will post high-resolution B-roll [general purpose video] of their candidates on their website, video that’s available to the public,” said veteran political consultant J.J. Balaban of the Philadelphia-based Campaign Group. “These independent expenditure groups are then able to download that B-roll and use it in their ads.”
Several weeks ago, Boyle’s campaign posted some appealing video of the candidate on YouTube, and now a super PAC funded by Philadelphia-area trade unions has used it in an ad and spent $100,000 to put it on television.
One of Boyle’s opponents for Pennsylvania’s 13th District seat, state Sen. Daylin Leach, said posting the campaign video was a cynical move.
“Boyle’s release of this video sends a clear message that he supports skirting of the campaign finance law,” Leach said in a statement, and he went on to mock Boyle’s move with some video production of his own.
Taking a cue from “The Daily Show” and Jon Stewart’s treatment of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Leach’s campaign took the Boyle video and had some fun by putting a different sound track on it. You can see it above.
Under Citizens United and other U.S. Supreme Court rulings, political committees can commit themselves solely to “independent expenditures” and take unlimited contributions and spend as much as they want to support or attack a candidate. Such committees, dubbed super PACs, may not coordinate activities with their chosen candidates.
Battle over Boyle’s record on abortion rights
The ad sponsored by the super PAC “Building a Better PA” seeks to counter attacks on Boyle’s abortion rights record by saying that he’s “taken on [Gov. Tom] Corbett to protect a woman’s right to choose and will defend Planned Parenthood.”
The campaign of another candidate in the race, former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies, planned a news conference for Thursday to denounce Boyle’s record. Boyle said in a recent forum his views on reproductive rights have evolved since he was in his 20s (he’s now 37). His 2011 vote for a bill imposing new restrictions on Pennsylvania abortion providers drew fire from abortion rights advocates.
In a review of Boyle’s record on the website RH Reality check, Sari Stevens, executive director at Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, said the candidate had “an inconsistent voting record on women’s health that includes supporting abortion restrictions.”