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The GOP used Twitter to skirt campaign finance laws, CNN says

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Tweets posted costly internal polling data, and may have crossed the line on rules about "coordinated" campaign spending

Both Democrats and Republicans take millions of dollars from outside groups to run campaigns, but under law, the parties can't "coordinate" with those groups, only accept the cash. As CNN reports today, the GOP may have found a way to quietly keep in touch: Twitter.

The accounts posted internal polling data

Reporter Chris Moody uncovered Twitter accounts that, at first blush, seem like gibberish — sequences like "CA-40/43-44/49-44/44-50/36-44/49-10/16/14-52-->49/476-10s." But the numbers, posted on multiple public accounts, showed internal polling data for House races ahead of this month's election. Using that information, the GOP could better know where to focus time and resources for maximum effect.

According to a CNN source, at least two spending groups —  American Crossroads and American Action Network — as well as the House GOP campaign arm — the National Republican Congressional Committee — knew about the accounts. The accounts were deleted minutes after CNN contacted the NRCC about them.

The definition of "coordinated" in campaign spending sits on murky legal territory. In this case, since the tweets were posted publicly, albeit quietly, it's unclear whether any rules were violated. The GOP accused Democrats of skirting campaign laws when tweets posted by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's accounts later showed up in ads funded by outside groups.

It does seem like the people behind the Twitter accounts had a sense of humor. As CNN explains, one of the now-deleted accounts was named after the fictional West Wing character Bruno Gianelli, who attempted to fund campaigns with possibly unethical cash.