Hillary Clinton campaign staffers suggested working with Media Matters for America, a nonprofit prohibited from engaging in a political campaign, something a former White House counsel described to The Daily Caller as a “real problem.”
In an email and a memo, both published by WikiLeaks, Clinton staffers discussed pushing Media Matters to get their message out. Media Matters is a liberal media watchdog founded by Clinton ally David Brock.
The July 2015 memorandum was prepared for Hillary Clinton by “campaign senior staff,” and was titled “Strategy memo for primary campaign.” In it, there is a section called “Muddy the Waters on GOP Candidates.”
The memo states, “Work with MMFA to highlight examples of when the press won’t cover the same issues with Republicans.”
The memo was attached in an email from Milia Fisher, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s special assistant, to Podesta.
Then in a Jan. 5, 2016 email, Clinton traveling press secretary Nick Merrill told Clinton staffer Emily Aden that Media Matters is ready to push back on a Vanity Fair article about Huma Abedin.
“We have MMFA, CtR, and core surrogates lined up, which we can expand on tomorrow,” Merrill wrote.
The next day, Media Matters wrote a blog post titled, “Vanity Fair’s Huma Abedin Hit Piece By The Numbers.”
Media Matters is a 501(c)(3) and according to IRS regulations, “all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”
“It looks like they are coordinating with the Clinton campaign. I think that’s a real problem for their c3 problem. There may be other election law violations as well,” Ambassador C. Boyden Gray, former White House Counsel under President George H.W. Bush, told TheDC.
The leaks don’t include Media Matters talking about working with the Clinton campaign, but Gray pointed to the Vanity Fair blog post by Media Matters as proof of coordination. “If there’s a response from Media Matters that follows what the Clinton campaign was asking, I don’t think you need much more,” Gray said.
Gray has previously written to the IRS challenging Media Matters’ tax-exempt status. “I’ve never heard back, so I’m quite sure the IRS is never going to look into it,” the former White House counsel said.
TheDC reached out to Media Matters to ask if it has ever worked with the Clinton campaign. It did not respond by press time.