Begala panhandles for DCCC in possible FEC violation

On Monday, Paul Begala, an adviser to the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA Action, sent a fundraising email for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), highlighting the shadowy connections between Super PACs and official Democratic campaigns like Obama for America.

Begala’s email was first noted by Politico’s Ken Vogel on Twitter, who questioned whether it was a violation of FEC coordination rules. FEC regulations on Super PACs prohibit expenditures "made in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion" of candidates and their campaigns.

In his fundraising pitch, Begala says the election will come down "to those last few undecided voters — and they’re getting hammered with negative ads distorting President Obama’s record."

"So here’s the plan," Begala said. "We’re going to call out their lies, expose the Republicans' plans to sell out the middle class, re-elect President Obama, and back him up with a Democratic majority."

Begala then urged recipients to donate $3 or more to the DCCC.

As the Free Beacon reported Monday, a fine line separates the Obama campaign, Democratic campaign committees, and the Super PACs supporting the president. The organizations feature a revolving door of staffers.

"This sounds like (DCCC) fundraising to me," said Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor and former chief White House ethics lawyer. "My concern is that I am not sure FEC regulations can limit this without running afoul of the First Amendment. The campaign finance regulation system we have in place is probably unworkable. That being said, the DCCC people do not appear to be playing by the rules."