On Thursday, social media reports began to circulate about an FBI raid taking place in Annapolis, Maryland. Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV first began to tweet about the execution of a search warrant on a GOP fundraising/consulting office, and what followed was plenty of speculation. However, the Baltimore Sun was able to gain basic confirmation of the raid’s existence from both the office being investigated (Strategic Campaign Group) and the bureau itself:
FBI spokeswoman Lindsay Ram said the investigation is being conducted through the bureau’s Washington field office, which has jurisdiction in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. She said agents from the office sometimes cross over into other jurisdictions when the entity they are investigating has offices in multiple locations.
Agents who executed the warrant seized files from the office, which is both a consulting and fundraising organization for some Republican candidates. There’s currently no indication that this raid has anything to do with the FBI’s Russia probe, unlike what Twitter seems to believe.
The Capital Gazette is reporting — at least according to the firm’s president, Kelley Rogers — that this raid is tied to the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial race. At the time, Strategic Campaign Group did work for former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who lost to Democrat Terry McAuliffe and sued the firm. Rogers says related allegations may have prompted this raid:
The Cuccinelli suit alleged that Strategic Campaign Group and the associated Conservative Strike Force Political Action Committee — an independent group not affiliated with the candidate — raised about $2.2 million by assuring donors it would spend the money to help elect the GOP candidate. The suit alleged that the PAC and Strategic Campaign Group failed to follow through on promises for an extensive media campaign on Cuccinelli’s behalf.
In 2014, the Washington Post uncovered the firm’s defendant status in the suit filed by Cuccinelli. The publication details how Strategic Campaign Group made calls on behalf of and controlled the Conservative Strike Force PAC, which Cuccinelli accused of pulling wool over his followers’ eyes via a “malicious ‘Scam PAC’ operation.”
Social media photos are currently circulating that show Strategic Campaign Group’s front windows covered in black plastic by the FBI.