First Congressional District candidate Laura Ruderman's campaign tells PubliCola that they know nothing about the independent expenditure campaign that's being done against Suzan DelBene, one of Ruderman's rivals in the Democratic intramural race for Congress.

First District residents received an anti-DelBene mailer earlier this month. A Ruderman donor, Jeremy Pemble, registered the IE group, Progress for Washington, with the Federal Elections Commission.

IE groups are controversial in the post Citizens United world because they are now allowed to take unlimited corporate donations (that's always been the case in Washington State in state-level races, but not in federal races such as Ruderman's, until now).

Ruderman condemned the trend at a recent 1st District candidate debate.

But the more you look at Progress for Washington, the more connections there are to Ruderman.

FEC records show that the firm actually doing the $60,000 anti-DelBene mail campaign is Gumbiner & Davies. The principal at the firm (it's actually Gumbinner & Davies) is Jeff Gumbinner.

Gumbinner is a Ruderman contributor ($500).

More significantly, Gumbinner used to run a political firm called  360 JMG. JMG did $10,000 worth of consulting work for Ruderman's secretary of state run in 2004 and $100,000 worth of work for her state house run in 2002.

Earlier in his career, Gumbinner worked for a firm called Crouse Malchow & Schlackman, which did $30,000 worth of work for Ruderman during her 2000 state house race.

Coordination between IEs and campaigns is against FEC rules. Ruderman's campaign spokeswoman, Liz Berry, tells PubliCola: "We don't know anything about this effort."

The mailers challenge DelBene's campaign trail boasts about her success as a businesswoman.
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