Massie speaks at event at home of potential Super PAC funder

04/01/2012 12:40 PM

Thomas Massie, the Republican 4th congressional candidate and Lewis County judge-executive, spoke at an event Friday at the home of a supporter who has been linked to a potential Super PAC that could get involved in the race.

Massie, in a telephone interview the day after the event, said he spoke to about 40 people at the home of Richard Knock, a philanthropist and investment company executive. Knock and Massie previously met but denied discussing a Super PAC, which is supposed to be an independent campaign organization that can raise unlimited amounts of money from donors and spend it on behalf of a candidate — as long as there is no coordination with the candidate’s campaign.

“I gave a speech,” Massie said. “There was a lawyer there and I read the appropriate disclaimer.”

Massie said he couldn’t remember the name of the lawyer but received his business card. Massie said his remarks focused on his background and philosophies and “were observed by the lawyer who is intimately familiar with campaign finance rules.”

As Pure Politics reported in March, Mike Adams, a former general counsel with the Republican Governors Association, helped form a Super PAC in Alexandria, Ky., this month called “Americans for Growth, Opportunity and Prosperity.”

Adams is splitting time between the Kentucky and Washington, D.C. for the firm Dinsmore and Shohl and specializes in campaign finance law.

Massie said the event was put on his schedule, he “met people as they came through the door,” ate a few items from the buffet and then gave the remarks. But he said he never asked those in attendance to donate.

In addition to Massie the seven-way GOP primary for the 4th District includes Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington of Fort Wright, lawyer Marcus Carey, business consultant Tom Wurtz, Oldham County School Board member and developer Walt Schumm and teacher Brian Oerther. They are vying for the nomination to replace four-term Republican U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis of Hebron.

“We are going to run a positive campaign,” Massie said.

When asked whether he expects any Super PAC that gets involved on his behalf to adhere to the same standards, he said, “I would hope that they do. If there is one that ultimately supports me, I would hope they do.”

But he added, “If a group of business leaders get involved to support me, I think that’s a good thing.”

As Super PACs have become more prevalent, the lines between campaigns and those supposedly outside groups have become increasingly blurred. President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney have authorized their aides to speak at Super PAC events and Romney, himself, spoke to donors to the Restore Our Future group that’s supporting his candidacy in New York last summer, according to national news reports.

And while candidates and Super PACs aren’t supposed to coordinate strategies, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich found a way around that in January when he publicly urged the Super PAC backing him to take down a negative ad aimed at Romney, as CBS News reported.

Massie said he wasn’t familiar with that instance but would look into that if he felt he didn’t approve of a message from a Super PAC supporting him.

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