REPORT: Mother Jones Investigation Reveals Evidence That Donald Trump’s Campaign Coordinated Ad Strategy With the NRA in 2016

Surprise surprise.

Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign may have illegally coordinated with the National Rifle Association, according to an extensive new investigative report by Mother Jones and The Trace.

The NRA outspent every other conservative group, feeding $30 million into Trump’s bid for the White House. Recent filings show that media ad buys by Trump’s campaign and a right-wing strategy firm called Red Eagle Media may have broken the law.

In late October 2016, the campaign — through American Media & Advocacy Group (AMAG) — and Red Eagle Media purchased ad slots on WVEC, the ABC affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia. Red Eagle bought 52, Trump 33. Both sets of ads were scheduled to air the same week, targeting the same demographic.

Mother Jones explains:

“The ads targeted adults aged 35 to 64, and aired on local news programs and syndicated shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. In paperwork filed with the Federal Communications Commission, Red Eagle described them as ‘anti-Hillary’ and ‘pro-Trump.'”

Documents obtained by Mother Jones show that AMAG and RMG are both connected to a third right-wing media company, National Media Research, Planning and Placement.

This resulted in the ads for Trump’s campaign and the NRA getting the green light from the same person: National Media’s chief financial officer, Jon Ferrell.

“This is very strong evidence, if not proof, of illegal coordination,” said Larry Noble, a former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission. “This is the heat of the general election, and the same person is acting as an agent for the NRA and the Trump campaign.”

The Trace’s investigation found that the NRA and Trump’s campaign had nearly identical strategies and some of the same people executing those plans.

Mother Jones noted:

“The investigation, which involved a review of more than 1,000 pages of Federal Communications Commission and Federal Election Commission documents, found multiple instances in which National Media, through its affiliates Red Eagle and AMAG, executed ad buys for Trump and the NRA that seemed coordinated to enhance each other.”

Ann Ravel, a former chair of the Federal Election Commission said this was brazenly illegal.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where illegal coordination seems more obvious,” Ravel explained. “It is so blatant that it doesn’t even seem sloppy. Everyone involved probably just thinks there aren’t going to be any consequences.”

Few are surprised at the depths of corruption surrounding Trump and the NRA.

FEC filings show that the Trump campaign paid AMAG “more than $74 million for ‘placed media’ in September and October of 2016,” Mother Jones found.

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