Reporting by The Trace shows that the NRA and the Trump campaign employed the same operation — at times, the exact same people — to craft and execute their advertising strategies for the 2016 presidential election. The investigation, which involved a review of more than 1,000 pages of Federal Communications Commission and Federal Election Commission documents, found multiple instances in which National Media, through its affiliates Red Eagle and AMAG, executed ad buys for Trump and the NRA that seemed coordinated to enhance each other.
Individuals working for National Media or its affiliated companies either signed or were named in FCC documents, demonstrating that they had knowledge of both the NRA and the Trump campaign’s advertising plans.
Experts say the arrangement appears to violate campaign finance laws.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where illegal coordination seems more obvious,” said Ann Ravel, a former chair of the FEC who reviewed the records. “It is so blatant that it doesn’t even seem sloppy. Everyone involved probably just thinks there aren’t going to be any consequences.”