The Democratic National Committee accused third-party candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Friday of violating federal election law by unlawfully coordinating with a supportive super PAC in a $15 million effort to collect signatures for state ballot access.
“Put simply, to qualify for the ballot under state law, American Values 2024 must coordinate its activity with Mr. Kennedy and his campaign in a way that violates federal campaign finance laws,” attorneys for the Democratic National Committee wrote in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission.
The complaint follows an announced effort by American Values 2024 that it will spend $15 million to collect signatures in 15 states so Kennedy can appear on the ballot. In a call with reporters Friday, DNC legal counsel Bob Lenhard argued that “state law presumes and in some cases requests that the candidate committee or candidate” is involved in the petition process, making the super PAC spending an illegal in-kind donation.
Super PACs, unlike campaigns, are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money from campaigns and corporations, but they are not allowed to coordinate most spending with campaigns.
“The DNC wants to deny millions of people their basic constitutional voting rights in a relentless onslaught against democracy,” Tony Lyons, the founder of American Values, said in a statement responding to the complaint. “The FEC complaint is just another desperate DNC tactic to defame Kennedy, vilify him and drain his campaign funds.”
Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, the candidate’s campaign manager and daughter-in-law, said in a statement that the FEC complaint was a “nonissue.”
The campaign, she explained, has created a structure that allows any volunteer to download signature forms for the various states and then mail them in for verification by a campaign vendor.
“We receive parcels of signatures from our volunteer groups all over the United States,” she said. “To my knowledge, we have yet to receive any signatures from American Values PAC or any PAC, nor have we provided any information that is not available to every volunteer and media outlet on our public website.”