According reports by both CNN and NBC News new campaign ads promoting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are not legal. According to the campaign finance watchdogs the ads are being paid for by the Conservative Solution Project, an independent group, is behind $85 million in TV ads supporting Rubio.
The problem is that unlike a Super PAC, Conservative Solutions Project doesn’t have to disclose its donors because it exists as a tax-exempt social welfare group under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code.
However, according to watchdog groups like Campaign Legal Center, the ads running promoting the Rubio campaign are illegal because they are focused on one single presidential candidate and do little to advance the general social welfare of society, which is what the organization was set up to do.
The watchdog groups have asked the Justice Department to launch an immediate investigation into Conservative Solutions Project. And while Conservative Solution Project officials claim that they are “not about any one specific elected official or candidate,” Rubio is the only 2016 presidential candidate featured in any of the organization’s TV ads that have aired in the early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as well as on national cable.
A spokesperson for the Rubio campaign declined to comment. (Campaigns are barred from strategizing with 501c4s and super PACs.)
Video from NBC NEWS.