First Congressional District candidate Laura Ruderman said her mother never told her she was setting up a Super PAC to attack her opponents.
“My mother and I did not talk about the issue,” Ruderman said in her first interview since the story broke that her mother had paid for mailers attacking fellow Democratic candidate Suzan DelBene, who is outspending other candidates on TV commercials.
“We did talk early on about the amount of time that I was spending fundraising. She heard the reports about Suzan, I knew that she was frustrated, as we said in our statement, but there was never any discussion about concrete action,” said Ruderman.
Under federal laws, it’s illegal for a Super PAC to coordinate its activities with a campaign. Margaret Rothschild appears in her daughter’s campaign commercials, but she told us earlier she never informed her daughter about her Super PAC efforts.
“Once my mother got this idea, and got some advice on what she could do, I would imagine she was told, you may not speak to Laura about this. And I think anybody who is a parent or has a parent can think of times when we have intentionally kept things from our children,” said Ruderman.
But on Wednesday, Jim Baum, a Maple Valley Democrat who supports DelBene, filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission against Ruderman’s campaign and Rothschild.
“She knew what was going on inside the campaign and yet she’s doing this thing outside the campaign? It’s hard to believe there isn’t some sort a tie there,” Baum said.
Baum said regardless of what mother and daughter discussed, Rothschild had knowledge about the campaign’s strategy and activities, appearing in her daughter’s commercials.
“Shadowy Super PACS and false accusations, and people have really reacted negatively to that,” Delbene said Wednesday.
“I’ve been surprised to see Suzan complaining as much as she has,” said Darcy Burner, another Democrat in the race.
“It’s only going to get worse in the general election and D.C. If she can’t take this, then she’s not suitable to go fight in Congress,” Burner said.
Other highlights from Wednesday’s debate held by the City Club at Microsoft’s Redmond campus include:
Who’s middle class? In the debate, DelBene echoed her commercial, saying she wants to go to Congress to fight for the middle class.
“When I graduated from college, my parents moved in with me because they didn’t have another place to go,” DelBene said.
Steve Hobbs replied: “Well, I am middle-class, $55,000 a year, drive a Ford Focus, barely work sometimes. I have three kids, one is special needs. While candidates talk about the middle class, hey I’m with you on that one, I’m one of them.”
Who’s party? Moderator Joni Balter with The Seattle Times asked Republican John Koster about identifying himself as a member of the Tea Party.
“I don’t know if I self-identified with the Tea Party or the press did that for me,” Koster said. “Let’s understand who those people are — those people are basically Republicans, Democrats and Independents who like limiting government, minimal taxation and want to live their lives basically free.”
Gun control? Burner, who just last week wrote that the NRA “can go to hell,” talked again about gun control.
“I actually own a gun,” Burner said. “I’ve had a concealed permit, which is a weapon of self-defense. Hunters have a right to go hunting, but I’m pretty sure the only thing you hunt with an AK-47 is dragons.”
Congress and tuition? Responding to an 18-year-old who impressed the crowd with his question about education reform, Darshan Rauniyar said the federal government can intervene in college tuition rates.
“What I would like to do when I become Congressman is to introduce legislation that would cap tuition rate for an incoming freshman for four years,” Ruaniyar said.