Vince McMahon’s online campaign defending World Wrestling Entertainment and his wife, Linda, was the last straw for Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.
DiNardo filed this Federal Election Commission complaint against McMahon Wednesday alleging illegal coordination between the wrestling empire and McMahon’s U.S. Senate campaign.
“Improper coordination between Mrs. McMahon and the WWE is most visible in WWE’s new corporate public relations campaign and ‘rapid-response’ news operation on behalf of McMahon’s Senate campaign; WWE’s first-ever “Fan Appreciation Day” in Hartford the Saturday before Election Day; and, the potential interference of an election night WWE event in Bridgeport with voting in one of the state’s Democratic strongholds; and paid advertising now being broadcast promoting the WWE and featuring Mrs. McMahon,” DiNardo said summarizing the complaint.
On Monday Mr. McMahon and the WWE put out a video asking the fans of WWE to stand up to the company and against the “malicious attacks.” As of Wednesday evening the video had received more than 72,000 views on YouTube.
In addition to the “Stand Up for WWE” campaign, the WWE is hosting a fan appreciation day Oct. 30 at the XL Center in Hartford and a show in Bridgeport on Nov. 2.
Robert Zimmerman, spokesman for the WWE, said last week that the Hartford event was planned months in advance since both from Monday Night RAW and Friday Night Smackdown were in the area doing shows.
Ed Patru, McMahon’s campaign communications director, called DiNardo’s complaint “utterly baseless.”
“This campaign scrupulously complies with all FEC regulations and has not and does not coordinate with WWE concerning its various corporate activities,” Patru said Wednesday. “We look forward to the FEC promptly dismissing this specious complaint.”
But DiNardo believes the complaint won’t be easily dismissed.
“Through this new initiative, spearheaded by her husband, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Connecticut is directly marshaling the resources of her family’s billion dollar corporation to defend her flagging campaign against legitimate questions,” DiNardo wrote. “It is inconceivable that this major, comprehensive, and public effort aimed directly at those news organizations currently covering the election was not undertaken in coordination with Linda McMahon’s Senate campaign. As such, it may represent illegal coordinated campaign expenditure.”