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MO Democratic Party Files Ethics Complaint Against Todd Akin

FILE - This Aug. 10, 2012 file photo shows Todd Akin, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator from Missouri taking questions after speaking at the Missouri Farm Bureau candidate interview and endorsement meeting in Jefferson City, Mo. Akin fought to salvage his Senate campaign Monday, Aug. 20, 2012, even as members of his own party turned against him and a key source of campaign funding was cut off in outrage over the Missouri congressman's comments that women are able to prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape."Credit: AP

Todd Akin might have thought he could pull himself back up from the abyss after the mess caused by what many conservatives characterized as a series of embarrassing and scientifically illiterate comments about "legitimate rape," but Missouri's Democratic party doesn't appear to be willing to let him do that. Politico reports that the Missouri Democrats have filed an ethics complaint against Akin following the latter's newfound support from Senator Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund:

The complaints came on the same day DeMint announced he was endorsing Akin, breaking with most in the GOP who deserted the congressman after he made controversial remarks about “legitimate rape.” DeMint’s backing paves the way for the fund to put its money behind Akin, though it hasn’t officially done so yet.

The complaints filed with both the Federal Election Commission and House Ethics Committee rely mostly on press reports. In the House complaint, Democrats allege Akin engaged in a quid pro quo with DeMint’s fund, changing his position on earmarks in exchange for political support. The FEC complaint alleges Akin had solicited illegal contributions by violating the soft money ban and had illegally coordinated with a super PAC on independent expenditures.

“To use the term bribery I don’t think is too strong at all,” Sanders told reporters. “These are fundamentally disturbing actions by Todd Akin.”

If merit is found with this complaint, it could sink Akin's campaign. However, it is easy to see avenues of criticism for this particular complaint. For instance, it's questionable whether the Democrats could prove that the correlation between the Senate Conservatives' Fund supporting Akin and Todd Akin's shifting position on earmarks indicates that the one caused the other, or vice versa.

However, that may not matter, given that this complaint is clearly meant as a political weapon first and foremost. In that capacity, especially given that it targets Akin's most deep-pocketed backer, and given that it lends more fodder for attack ads by McCaskill, it may be very successful.

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