Somebody tried to hack into Ginny Schrader's campaign computers. Was it a consulting firm with GOP ties? Becki Donatelli, whose firm, "Campaign Solutions" is apparently THE campaign consulting agency to the GOP, is married to Frank Donatelli Esq., former Reagan staffer and current board member of "Americans for a Better Country." ABC, as it is so cleverly called, is not just another 527. It is, in fact, the 527 that tried to kill all the other 527s.
Last year, Donatelli and his partners started ABC: "Americans for a Better Country, a newly formed 527 political committee, has been set up with the goal of establishing an aggressive voter-mobilization and issue ad campaign to out-raise and out-spend, within the boundaries of the new campaign finance law, the liberal groups whose stated mission is the ‘defeat of George Bush," read its press release.
That's right, they collected no money. They supported no candidates. They ran no advertising. Instead, they filed an request for an advisory opinion with the FEC to try to get that body to rule against the fundraising and spending activities of 527s in general: "The liberal groups have already been raising money from billionaires, labor unions and other special interests and making plans to spend their unlimited soft dollars to affect the 2004 elections. ABC wants the advisory opinion to clarify whether this is permissible." The request for an opinion contains such questions as "If I were George Soros, could I do this?" Ok, not really, but it does lay out very specific hypothetical questions, especially about 527 coordination with campaigns and political parties. The FEC's opinion sidestepped most of the questions, much to the chagrin of conservatives hoping to muzzle Moveon etc.
Donatelli seems to have missed the irony inherent in this situation. He started a 527 to help Bush by limiting the supposed "coordination" between campaigns and advocacy groups while ignoring the fact that his wife runs the company that handles the online presence and fundraising for the RNC and Bush-Cheney '04! Well, as they say, IOIYAR!
Incidentally, while Schrader's opponent is not a client of Campaign Solutions, he is a recipient of funds from Rick Santorum's PAC. Santorum has previously worked with Mike Connell, who is Becki Donatelli's partner in ConnellDonatelli, her other political consulting firm.
Update: Connell's other company, NewMedia Communications, designed the website for the Pennsylvania State Republican Committee. Small world.