shop-talk

Sanders Consultants Carving Out Risky 'Outsider' Niche

Sanders ' top consultants have also signed on to two Senate contenders who are running in primaries against candidates endorsed by national Democrats. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Four of Sen. Bernard Sanders' top consultants are carving out a niche for themselves for 2016 — working for upstart Democratic candidates who rankle the party establishment.  

Tad Devine, Julian Mulvey and Mark Longabaugh — as well as Sanders' pollster, Ben Tulchin, are also working for two Democratic Senate candidates who are not the pick of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Democratic strategists say it's a move that could either pay huge dividends if those candidates were to win, or could burn bridges with party insiders who could shut off the spigot for future business.  

Jesse Benton Acquitted in Campaign Fraud Case

A former aide to Paul was acquitted on charges that he lied to FBI agents. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Jesse Benton, a longtime ally of Sen. Rand Paul, was acquitted Thursday on charges tied to a campaign fraud case surrounding former Rep. Ron Paul's 2012 presidential campaign, according to the Des Moines Register .  

Benton was caught up in a scandal, in which a former Iowa state senator admitted to taking $73,000 in payments from Ron Paul's presidential campaign in exchange for switching his endorsement to Paul from then-Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Benton had served as Paul's campaign chairman in 2012, but maintained his innocence in the ordeal.  

DSCC Promotes Sadie Weiner to Communications Director

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is chairman of the DSCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will promote Sadie Weiner to communications director next week, putting her in charge of the committee's communication strategy for the 2016 cycle, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.  

Weiner will assume the role on Oct. 8 after current Communications Director Justin Barasky leaves the DSCC for Priorities USA , the super PAC supporting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign.  

House Democrats Going Good Cop, Bad Cop Against GOP

The DCCC, led by Luján, right, and DPCC, led by Israel, are teaming up on an ambitious August project. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats met Wednesday to review an ambitious new plan to target Republicans when lawmakers head home for the August recess.  

The strategy — devised jointly over the past few months by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Policy and Communications Committee — is part of an effort to “make the case locally that Republicans and their misguided priorities are failing hardworking Americans across the country,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. The two groups, one focused on politics and other more focused on policy, will essentially lead a good cop/bad cop routine. Democratic lawmakers, playing the good cops, will utilize an August playbook drafted by the DPCC to tout their party’s agenda, while the DCCC will play the role of the bad cop by targeting some of the most vulnerable House Republicans with television ads and full-time staff members in some of their districts.  

Tech Experts: Expect Innovation, Investment on Established Platforms for 2016

Political tech experts expect investment in established platforms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two weeks before Scott Walker announced his presidential bid, he set up a Snapchat account so followers could get a behind-the-scenes look at the Wisconsin governor grilling brats and singing karaoke. When Hillary Rodham Clinton held her first major campaign rally of the cycle on Roosevelt Island in New York, she live-streamed it on Periscope so supporters could tune in from afar.  

As candidates utilize the latest social media platforms ahead of the 2016 elections to expand their potential reach with voters, political and technology experts say they should be investing the most in the older guard (relatively speaking) technologies, led by email and established giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Ads. For congressional candidates with smaller budgets and shorter timelines than their presidential counterparts , experts say innovations in targeting and increased efficiency for turning eyeballs into donors, such as one-click donations, are far more important than maintaining an active Vine or Instagram account.  

Operative Gets 2 Years in First Campaign-Super PAC Coordination Case (Updated)

Harber worked for a candidate trying to oust Connolly, above, from his Virginia House seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:35 p.m. |  Tyler Harber, a former Republican political operative, was sentenced to two years in prison for his involvement in illegal coordination between a campaign and a super PAC, according to The Washington Post , in the first case of its kind.  

Harber — who pleaded guilty to the charges in February — is the first political operative to go down for an illegal coordination violation, according to federal prosecutors. Those prosecutors lobbied for a harsh punishment to try to deter others from engaging in similar activities.  

Putnam Partners Hires Longtime DCCC Aide
America Rising Hires Three for 2016

Former Rep. Howard Berman speaks with staff as they try to keep the prying eyes of a tracker away in 2012. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican opposition research firm America Rising will announce Thursday three new additions to its senior leadership team for the 2016 cycle, as well as a handful of promotions, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.  

“America Rising is heading into the 2016 cycle equipped with one of the best teams of researchers and analysts in the game today,” Joe Pounder, president of America Rising, said in a statement. “Many of these individuals helped establish America Rising’s success last cycle, and with their leadership, we will be holding Democrats and the left accountable in 2016.”  

DNC's Mo Elleithee Leaving Politics for Georgetown

Elleithee said he is leaving politics "to learn how to do it better." (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mo Elleithee, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, announced in a post on Medium Tuesday that he’s leaving the DNC to serve as executive director of the newly created Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service at the McCourt School of Public Service.  

“I’m leaving politics to learn how to do it better,” Elleithee wrote. “And I’m counting on young people to show me how.” Elleithee, a veteran Democratic consultant, is no stranger to the way it's been done.  

Veteran Democratic Consultants Launch New Media Firm

Ken Morley and Philip de Vellis, two longtime Democratic political operatives, have joined forces to launch Beacon Media — a Democratic media consulting firm based in Washington, D.C.  

"We formed Beacon Media to provide Democratic candidates and issue advocacy groups with advertising that combines groundbreaking creative with a solid strategic foundation that leverages the latest delivery technology to reach voters in today's fractured media landscape," de Vellis said in a news release, provided to CQ Roll Call.