Oct 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Progressives target Taylor Greene

Marjorie Taylor Greene is seen speaking.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A progressive group is using Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) as a test case for a law that's supposed to restrict the use of outside money in shaping the legislative process, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: New complaints against Greene by End Citizens United have broader implications for a new breed of conservative lawmakers whose identity is built around their reputations as provocateurs rather than achievements as legislators.

  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) said he "built my staff around comms rather than legislation" shortly after taking office.
  • “If you aren’t making news, you aren’t governing,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said last year.

Driving the news: ECU has filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Office of Congressional Ethics. They point to a series of ads run by Greene's campaign and her leadership PAC, which encourage supporters to call members of Congress to oppose infrastructure funding legislation.

  • The Save America Stop Socialism PAC has spent between $15,000 and $20,000 running the ads on Facebook and Instagram, where they've been viewed as many as 4.6 million times, according to Facebook's political ad archive.
  • ECU says this practice runs afoul of a federal law banning the use of any outside money to conduct official congressional business.
  • “Using her leadership PAC in an attempt to get around federal law and regulations is both unethical and illegal," the group said in a statement.

What they're saying: “This is a frivolous complaint from a partisan political organization masquerading as some kind of watchdog group,” Greene’s office told Axios.

  • “This is just another tactic straight out of the Democrats’ communist playbook.”

How we got here: Greene was stripped of her committee assignments a month after taking office, after being condemned for past endorsements of conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric against Democrats.

  • That's neutered her ability to shape legislation. None of the 15 bills she's sponsored this year has made it out of committee.
  • Nonetheless, she's attracted media attention and raised massive sums for her political operation with red-meat appeals to far-right supporters.
  • She's used taxpayer funds to send out mail pieces calling for President Biden's impeachment. While not overtly political, the messaging tracks with paid ads run by Greene's campaign.
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