Complaint Alleges Sean Eldridge Illegally Accepted In-Kind Donations

Republicans in Hudson Valley, where Sean Eldridge is running for Congress, allege that their new neighbor accepted in-kind donation from a local economic group. In a complaint to the Federal Election Committee, Eldridge's political rivals use YouTube footage to try to make the case that this violates election law.

According to the complaint, Eldridge, who is married to Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, used video from the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit aiding local business, in his promotional campaign announcement last September.

The New York Daily News reports:

The footage shows the CEO of the corporation, Larry Gottlieb, citing Eldridge's role in an initiative to promote development of 3D printing in the area. The organization posted footage of the same event in May 2013.

"Four months later Eldridge and the committee incorporate the very same footage, down to the shirt and tie" and use it "to promote Eldridge's campaign for federal office," the complaint says.

Republicans argue that this video [below] is "is clearly the property of the HVEDC":

And since federal campaign laws prevent corporations from contributing to campaign committees, using this footage in the campaign announcement [below] represents an in-kind donation.

When Eldridge's camp dismissed the claim, his rivals referred back to the tape:

Republicans countered that the clips of Gottlieb in the two videos have different angles and editing in the two videos. That means Eldridge's camp couldn't have simply pulled the video from YouTube.

The complaint sounds silly and hardly something to riled up about until you watch the entirety of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation video in question. It begins with Eldridge talking about his $1 million investment in 3D printing in the area, then the $250,000 founding grant he donated to create the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center at SUNY New Paltz, AND then his commitment of up to $500,000 in Hudson Valley companies. The video ends with Eldridge thanking all those organizations for partnering with him.

The non-profit video itself feels like a campaign ad for Eldridge! Let this nice man buy your vote already.

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