Cell phone screen shots provided to Sunlight by the Paige Kreegel for Congress campaign shows Kreegel left a voice message for his opponent Curt Clawson warning that an outside group would be launching attack ads targeting Clawson and Lizbeth Benacquisto at 7:58 p.m. on March 14, several hours after an FEC filing — showing impending ad buys against Kreegel opponents by an outside group — was made publicly available. The three are facing off in the Republican primary for Florida’s 19th District, which has an empty congressional seat after the resignation of Rep. Trey Radel, R, who was charged with cocaine possession in Washington.
The timing of the call is relevant because of allegations that Kreegel knew about the ads before the public — which could mean that his campaign was engaged in illegal ‘coordination’ with Values are Vital, the super PAC that has spent more than half a million dollars supporting his candidacy.
According to Tampa Bay Times reporting, two former campaign aides of Kreegel claim the candidate supported covertly starting an independent expenditure committee to run attack ads during his previous run for Congress. One of the aides is part of a lawsuit against Kreegel claiming he still owes campaign contractors some $50,000 in backpay.