Friday, 17 February 2017

Group making anti-Trump robocalls is closely tied to a pro-Trump PAC

During the 2016 election, a political action group called Liberty Action Group raised nearly $3 million through radio advertisements and robocalls by asking for contributions to help elect Donald Trump.

According to public filings reviewed by CNN's KFile, the group made no direct donations to the Trump campaign nor is there any indication the group contributed in other ways to Trump's election effort. The Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for transparency in government, described Liberty Action Group as an "extremely shady PAC" last year.

Now, the individuals behind Liberty Action Group have turned their attention to the progressive movement, soliciting donations for a different group, Progressive Priorities PAC. Several people have reported receiving phone calls in the past month from Progressive Priorities PAC that play a recording of former President Barack Obama followed by a request to contribute to "help Obama impeach Trump."

FEC records for Progressive Priorities PAC, which also ran radio ads soliciting donations during the 2016 Democratic primary, reveal it has never directly contributed to any candidate or cause.

The two groups, soliciting money from opposite ends of the political spectrum, are both connected to the same man, sources familiar with the PACs inner-workings told CNN's KFile. That man, Matthew Tunstall, is not listed as the director of either PAC. However, FEC filings show Tunstall was paid more than $300,000 by Liberty Action Group last year.

Tunstall did not return multiple requests from CNN for an interview.

FEC records show the two groups also used the same Virginia-based treasurer, whose only work of this type was with those two PACs. Both groups also paid the same robocalling company, SmartCall Media.

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