Progressive advocacy group One Wisconsin Now has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission alleging U.S. Representative and Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has improperly used his Congressional campaign funds to promote the GOP presidential ticket.
Rep. Ryan has purchased $2 million in ads from his Congressional campaign account, but none of the five ads specifically mention he is running for Congress. One Wisconsin Now alleges the ads promote Ryan's Vice-Presidential candidacy rather than his Congressional reelection.
"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," One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross said in a press release.
The group alleges Rep. Ryan violated FEC rules prohibiting the transfer of funds between separate campaign accounts when a candidate is simultaneously running for more than one office.
"It's perfectly legal for Paul Ryan to run for Congress and Vice-President at the same time," Ross says. "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."
According to One Wisconsin Now's letter filed with the FEC on October 10, the $2 million ad buy is roughly twice as much as the Ryan campaign spent on its most expensive race over the past decade, and the campaign is making this buy despite the district having been made even more "safe" after redistricting and polls showing Ryan holding a 25 point (58-33) advantage over his Democratic challenger Rob Zerban.
A copy of the letter sent to the FEC on October 10 can be accessed here.