Mondaire Jones’ bid to succeed a powerful House Democrat in New York has him on the cusp of progressive stardom. But while he runs a campaign on pledges to combat corruption and the influence of money in politics, Jones’ team has also quietly and adeptly sidestepped major campaign-finance rules.
Jones, a lawyer and activist affiliated with the progresive Working Families Party, was officially declared the winner this week in a crowded Democratic primary for the seat held by Rep. Nita Lowey, the chairwoman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee who did not seek re-election. Jones’ victory came with a helping hand from a super PAC devoted solely to supporting his campaign. Fight for the American Dream PAC spent a sizable $160,000 on his behalf. It did so by way of a firm that just weeks earlier had been consulting for the Jones campaign itself, using resources the campaign had quietly made available to the super PAC, with money that appears to have been raised for the super PAC with the campaign’s assistance.
The tactics the campaign and super PAC used to complement each other’s efforts do not appear to have violated laws barring coordination between campaigns and independent political spenders supporting them. Indeed, some of the tactics are common methods of circumventing super PAC coordination rules.