Hillary Clinton will head into the 2016 presidential election with another semi-official super PAC in her corner.
Correct the Record, founded by Clinton allies and former aides, announced Tuesday afternoon that it will spin off of its parent organization, itself Clinton-aligned super PAC, to become its very own super PAC.
The rapid-response and research group became an integral part of the so-called "shadow campaign" tending to Clinton’s political image during the interregnum between her tenure as secretary of state and the official declaration of her campaign, employing around 20 staffers at its peak.
Now, in a novel move for a super PAC, Correct the Record will both accept unlimited contributions and coordinate directly with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organs.
“Going forward, Correct the Record will work in support of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president, aggressively responding to false attacks and misstatements of the Secretary’s exemplary record,” said its new president, Brad Woodhouse, who headed the former parent organization American Bridge.
Super PACs are typically prohibited by law from coordinating with candidates, but Correct the Record will not be a typical super PAC. The group will not run ads, but instead does all of its work online, which it says will allow it to coordinate with the Clinton campaign.
The so-called “Internet exemption” was not intended to be used this way (it was created before the existence of super PACs), the Washington Post notes, but experts say Correct the Record is unlikely to face reprisal.
Many observers had expected to group to fold once Clinton officially entered the race, but its elevation underscores an acknowledgment that Clinton will need extra help combating incoming fire, in light of questions about donations to her family's charitable foundation, her use of a private email account as secretary of state, and other issues.
American Bridge will continue to do its work digging up dirt on Republican presidential candidates and sending out trackers to film their events. Both American Bridge and Correct the Record were founded by David Brock, the former Clinton antagonist who is now a top Clinton ally. Brock will serve as chairman of both groups.
Meanwhile, a related third super PAC, Priorities USA, will continue its mission of raising more than $200 million to run ads attacking Clinton’s opponents. Correct the Record will likely be limited in how much it can coordinate with the two, however, to stay in compliance with anti-coordination rules.
Clinton has made getting “unaccountable money” out of politics a pillar of her campaign, but has concluded that the benefit of super PACs easily outweighs the dangers.
A spokesperson for Clinton's campaign did not say whether they had signed off on the super PAC, but it seems unlikely it would move ahead without the campaign's at least tacit blessing. Both the campaign and the super PAC share the same law firm.
Other Correct the Record board members include longtime Clinton strategist James Carville, top Clinton donor Susie Tompkins Buell, and others. Burns Strider, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, will continue in his role as senior advisor.
Last month, the Clinton campaign hired former Correct the Record communications director Adrienne Elrod, herself a veteran of Clinton’s 2008 bid.