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Confirmed: Attack ads against Miss. conservatives funded by Senate Republicans

Chris McDaniel greets supporters at a rally in Biloxi, Miss.
Chris McDaniel greets supporters at a rally in Biloxi, Miss.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Late Tuesday, RedState's Erick Erickson confirmed that Senate Republicans -- including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. -- helped fund ads in Mississippi that painted conservatives and the Tea Party as racist. In addition to McConnell, Sens. John Cornyn, Rob Portman, Bob Corker, and Roy Blunt also helped pay for the offensive ads.

"It appears our Senate Republican leaders are willing to risk losing a Senate majority so long as they can get their own re-elected," Erickson wrote. "Yes folks, it is true. I can confirm what we all suspected."

Documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show the group "All Citizens for Mississippi" received $144,685.00 from "Mississippi Conservatives," a group backed by Haley Barbour. Erickson noted that Barbour's group, in turn, was funded in part by Sally Bradshaw of the RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project, former RNC Chairman and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and the United States Chamber of Commerce. Political action committees created for McConnell, Cornyn, Portman, Corker and Blunt contributed a combined total of $155,000 to Barbour's organization, he said.

Bradshaw and Henry Barbour, Haley Barbour’s nephew, worked on the autopsy of the 2012 GOP loss, Erickson added. Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer also participated in the so-called "Growth and Opportunity Project."

As a result of the efforts funded by Senate GOP leaders, thousands of Democrats crossed party lines to vote for Thad Cochran in the Republican primary runoff election, giving Cochran a 7,667-vote edge over Chris McDaniel, his Tea Party-backed challenger. But it appears a number of those who crossed over also participated in the Democratic Party primary earlier in the month, violating state election law. McDaniel said in an email Friday his campaign has found 8,300 questionable ballots in that election.

McDaniel said many of those ballots “were unquestionably cast by voters ineligible to participate in the June 24th runoff election.” He intends to address the ballots and further actions in a Wednesday press conference. The Cochran campaign responded by dismissing McDaniel's assertions as "extraordinarily irresponsible," and claims McDaniel has "zero evidence" for his allegations, a refrain heard from MSNBC and a number of moderate Republicans.

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