New FEC Complaint Filed Against Ryan Zinke
Montana Democratic Party asks Federal Election Commission to Investigate Potential Illegal Coordination with SOFA PAC
(Helena, MT) – The Montana Democratic Party filed a formal complaint today with the Federal Election Commission against U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke. The complaint stems from instances of potential illegal coordination between Ryan Zinke and the super PAC he founded, Special Operations for America PAC.
As the complaint details, Zinke and his former super PAC hired and paid the same individual for opposition research, a clear violation of federal election law that bans candidates and PACs from coordinating activities.
Since stepping down, SOFA has campaigned almost exclusively for Zinke, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of his candidacy. SOFA has also solicited contributions for specifically for his campaign, offering commemorative Ryan Zinke/SOFA coins to donors who gave more than $50.
In November, both SOFA PAC and Ryan Zinke reported hiring the same individual for research consulting during the same month. Any decisions or actions the research consultant made for one entity would almost certainly have informed his decisions for the other entity – thus implying that illegal coordination occurred.
“To claim there is no coordination between SOFA Pac and Ryan Zinke just doesn’t pass the smell test. This is just another example of Ryan Zinke using power and influence for his own personal gain. Montanans expect everyone to play by the same rules and be held accountable when they break those rules,” said Bryan Watt, spokesperson for the Montana Democratic Party. “We’re asking the FEC to investigate a situation where you have two entities sharing the same researcher, sharing the same fundraising ideas, sharing the same images and sharing the same purpose.”
This is the second FEC complaint against Zinke concerning illegal coordination with SOFA PAC. The first complaint can be viewed here.
Zinke has previously faced criticism over his alleged misuse of taxpayer dollars for personal travel.