Group making anti-Trump robocalls is closely tied to a pro-Trump PAC
During the 2016 election, a political action group called Liberty Action Group raised nearly $3 million through radio advertisements and robocalls by asking for contributions to help elect Donald Trump.
According to public filings reviewed by CNN’s KFile, the group made no direct donations to the Trump campaign nor is there any indication the group contributed in other ways to Trump’s election effort. The Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for transparency in government, described Liberty Action Group as an “extremely shady PAC” last year.
Now, the individuals behind Liberty Action Group have turned their attention to the progressive movement, soliciting donations for a different group, Progressive Priorities PAC. Several people have reported receiving phone calls in the past month from Progressive Priorities PAC that play a recording of former President Barack Obama followed by a request to contribute to “help Obama impeach Trump.”
FEC records for Progressive Priorities PAC, which also ran radio ads soliciting donations during the 2016 Democratic primary, reveal it has never directly contributed to any candidate or cause.
The two groups, soliciting money from opposite ends of the political spectrum, are both connected to the same man, sources familiar with the PACs inner-workings told CNN’s KFile. That man, Matthew Tunstall, is not listed as the director of either PAC. However, FEC filings show Tunstall was paid more than $300,000 by Liberty Action Group last year.
Tunstall did not return multiple requests from CNN for an interview.
FEC records show the two groups also used the same Virginia-based treasurer, whose only work of this type was with those two PACs. Both groups also paid the same robocalling company, SmartCall Media.
Josiah Cammer, the listed director of Liberty Action Group, was paid $500 by Progressive Priorities PAC in July, according to FEC filings. Cammer did not return a request for comment from CNN for this story. He had previously told CNN’s KFile in August that he had not heard of Progressive Priorities PAC.
Websites for the groups are identical in format. At one point this year, the opt out message from Progressive Priorities instructed users to email Liberty Action Group. The voicemail for the two groups appears to be the same person.
Both groups have caught the attention of the FEC for filing incomplete reports of their earnings. Progressive Priorities PAC failed to have a treasurer sign their FEC filings and did not list contributor information for donations in excess of $200.
Liberty Action Group received FEC inquiries for similar problems last year, and was forced to update filings after saying they were not aware such information was required. The group was also sued by a San Francisco man who said they illegally placed robocalls to his cell phone causing him to incur unwanted charges. Court records show the case was settled.