Coordination Watch

How candidates and outside groups work together to evade anti-corruption laws


Outside groups that must, by law, be independent from candidates. But these anti-corruption rules have been regularly flouted. Groups systematically coordinate with their preferred candidates, allowing wealthy special interests to have outsized influence in our political system.

“Coordination Watch” outlines how Congress can further guard against illegal coordination, and helps reporters and the public identify coordination between outside groups and candidates.

If the answer is “yes” to any of the following six questions, the activity may constitute coordination that would be illegal if the FEC was doing its job.

  1. Is a candidate raising money for an outside group?
  2. Is an outside group running an essential part of a candidate’s campaign?
  3. Has a candidate appeared in ads sponsored by an outside group?
  4. Did a candidate help start an outside group before launching their campaign?
  5. Is a candidate sharing strategic campaign information with an outside group, or vice versa?
  6. Are a candidate and an outside group using the same vendor for expenditures?

See the “Coordination Watch” project at