Announcement Raises Questions About Santorum And SuperPAC

Under Federal Election Committee rules, superPACs are not supposed to coordinate with a candidate. In fact, it's this lack of coordination that has been the basis for the argument that superPACs are indeed independent groups not controlled by the candidate they might be supporting.

How, then, to explain this announcement that went out Thursday?

It uses the Rick Santorum logo — the same one that has gone out on other Santorum campaign news releases. It gives as a contact Matt Beynon, a spokesman for the Santorum campaign. And it delivers a statement from Santorum endorsing a candidate for U.S. Senate in Nebraska.

And at the very bottom, it states: "PAID FOR BY THE RED WHITE AND BLUE FUND."

That would be the superPAC that had spent millions on Santorum's behalf over the previous months.

Politico reported on Thursday: "According to sources familiar with the RWB Fund's plans, that group is going to be the vehicle for [Santorum's] political activities now that his 2012 campaign is over."

But while Santorum suspended his Republican presidential campaign on April 10, he did not terminate the campaign. Legally, Santorum's campaign remains active. And FEC rules still ban his campaign and the superPAC from coordinating in any fashion.

Beynon did not return calls for comment Friday.

S.V. Dáte is the NPR Washington Desk's congressional editor.

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