DNC alleges RFK Jr. campaign violating election law in FEC complaint, as party circles wagons around Biden

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The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Friday accused the Robert F. Kennedy Jr. presidential campaign of illegally coordinating with its super PAC, American Values 2024. 

In a complaint filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), the DNC alleges that Kennedy’s campaign received $15 million worth of unlawful in-kind contributions from American Values 2024 to help him secure ballot access as an independent candidate in several states.

 “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaign is flouting campaign finance law by outsourcing a critical campaign function —  the collection of signatures required to appear on the ballot – to an outside Super PAC that is funded by Donald Trump’s top donor this cycle. This scheme between American Values 2024 and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaign requires significant — and plainly illegal — coordination, to the tune of a $15 million in-kind contribution” DNC senior adviser Mary Beth Cahill said in a statement. 

“This blatant disregard for federal law undermines the integrity of our democracy and electoral process, and the FEC must act decisively to put an end to this troubling scheme,” Cahill added.

BIDEN LASHES OUT AT REPORTERS ASKING ABOUT AGE CONCERNS AFTER SPECIAL COUNSEL REPORT: ‘THAT IS YOUR JUDGMENT!’ 

Democratic National Committee

Security fencing remains installed around the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters on November 16, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“This is a nonissue being raised by a partisan political entity that seems to be increasingly concerned with its own candidate and viability,” a Kennedy campaign spokesperson told Fox News Digital in response to the DNC filing. 

Kennedy initially sought to challenge President Biden in the 2024 Democratic presidential primary, but the DNC said it would not hold primary debates and stood behind the incumbent president.

He declared himself as an independent candidate in October and has seen support in polls from a sizable number of Democrats — and even some Republicans.

However, independent political campaigns face various obstacles at the local, state and national levels — chief among them being ballot access. The Kennedy campaign has acknowledged that “millions” of signatures are required for petitions to appear on the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and estimated the total cost of meeting those requirements to be $15 million.

“Rather than solving this problem by raising the necessary funds consistent with federal law, Mr. Kennedy and his campaign are trying to take the shortcut of having American Values 2024 perform this campaign function for him,” the DNC alleges in a letter to Lisa J. Stevenson, the FEC’s acting general counsel.

FLASHBACK: DEMS RAN DEFENSE ON BIDEN’S AGE BEFORE SPECIAL COUNSEL PUT DAMNING SPOTLIGHT ON HIS ‘POOR MEMORY’

RFK Jr on Sirius XM

Democratic Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speaks as Michael Smerconish hosts a SiriusXM Town Hall with Democratic Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. at The Centre Theater on June 5, 2023, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Lisa Lake/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

To qualify for the ballot, Kennedy’s campaign must submit paperwork, collect signatures and obtain certification from state election officials. The DNC argues that American Values 2024 cannot assist the campaign with this effort without coordinating in such a way that would be illegal. 

“Put simply, to qualify for the ballot under state law, American Values 2024 must coordinate its activity with Mr. Kennedy and his campaign in a way that violates federal campaign finance laws,” the DNC wrote. 

The Kennedy campaign strongly contested the DNC’s claims. 

“Just to be clear about the facts — as a people-powered movement, this campaign makes all of the official petition formats it receives from each state’s Secretary of State office available for volunteers to print at home from our public website, along with submission instructions to mail their completed petitions to our secure signature validation and processing vault. We receive parcels of signatures from our volunteer groups all over the United States,” the Kennedy campaign said.

“To my knowledge, we have yet to receive any signatures from American Values PAC or any PAC, nor have we provided any information that is not available to every volunteer and media outlet on our public website. I am aware that they have their own signature collection tracker on their public website, but we take our FEC obligation seriously and are not permitted to tell PACs what they should and should not do with their money,” a Kennedy spokesperson said. 

“We are grateful for every last scrap of popular support in meeting these anti-democratic hurdles and intend to follow the precise letter of the law as we clear each and every one of them on behalf of millions of American voters,” they added. 

The DNC also alleges that Kennedy is being set up as a “stalking horse” by supporters of former President Donald Trump. It pointed to a $10 million contribution to Kennedy’s super PAC from billionaire Timothy Mellon, who was Trump’s largest donor in the 2020 election cycle and has contributed more than $30 million to Trump-aligned PACs. 

TRUMP TEAM MADE ‘EARLY ON’ ATTEMPTS TO RECRUIT RFK JR. AS FORMER PRESIDENT’S RUNNING MATE: REPORT

2024 presidential candidates

Former President Donald Trump, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and President Joe Biden. (Getty Images)

The concern that Kennedy could spoil Biden’s chances for reelection comes as the president faces heightened scrutiny of his age and memory.

Biden lashed out at reporters during a press conference Thursday night in which he responded to the release of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report on his handling of classified documents. Hur’s report stated that the president “shared information, including some classified information, from those notebooks with his ghostwriter.”

Hur, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents, concluded that he would not bring charges against him, in part because a jury would find him to be a “sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory,” despite the acknowledgment that the documents were “willfully” obtained by Biden both as vice president and as a senator. 

Faced with questions about his age, Biden told reporters, “I’m well-meaning, and I’m an elderly man and I know what the hell I’m doing.”

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Asked about polls showing Americans remain concerned about his age and mental acuity, Biden insisted he’s “the most qualified person in the country to be President of the United States and finish the job I started.” 

An NPR/PBS NewsHour survey released on Wednesday found that Biden and Trump were statistically tied among registered voters nationwide, 48% and 47%, respectively, with 5% unsure. 

An average of all the most recent national polls — compiled by Real Clear Politics — that asks a Biden-Trump horse-race question indicates the former president with a slight 1.7-point edge over the incumbent in the White House.

Fox News Digital’s Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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