Political consulting firm SKD Knickerbocker, where Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s chief advisor Anita Dunn is managing director, has been paid approximately $5,000,000 this election cycle by multiple down-ballot campaigns and super PACs — according to FEC filings. This amount is in addition to the approximate $2,000,000 the firm has been paid by the Biden campaign, bringing their total to almost $7,000,000 thus far this election period.
SKD Knickerbocker has been paid $2,500,000 and $1,300,000 for media and advertising buys by Democratic congressional candidates Adam Schleifer (NY-17) and Sara Jacobs (CA-53), respectively. The media and consulting firm also was paid almost $45,000 by DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake in his bid for the NY-15 nomination, as well as over $20,000 for “communications consulting" for KY-06 candidate Amy McGrath — at a time where upstart Progressive candidate Charles Booker was challenging what was, up until then, a virtual shoe-in for the nomination.
The firm also has been on the payroll of several Super PACs, most recently receiving $60,000 for “advertising" from a committee called “Abolish The Electoral College”. However, the most eyebrow raising of these collaborations comes from their work with AB PAC, the Super PAC belonging to longtime political operative David Brock’s American Bridge organization.
AB PAC, who has spent millions of dollars on pro-Biden and anti-Trump ads, paid SKD Knickerbocker approximately $37,500 in Q2 for “advertising" — though according to AB PAC’s filings for the period, none of these payments appear on their independent expenditure disclosures. While in comparison to the amount the Super PAC has spent this cycle, the previous payment may seem like a drop in the bucket; but it’s good to remember that FEC regulations prohibit campaigns from coordinating with Super PACs — which raises concerns over whether or not the aforementioned regulations have to potential to be circumvented by their working relationship. Simply put, if your chief campaign strategist (in Biden’s case, Anita Dunn) is also the managing director of a media consulting firm (SKD Knickerbocker) that has a monetary, working relationship with a Super PAC that supports you (AB PAC), that can be seen as a potential breeding ground for impropriety.
This story will be updated if or when any new information becomes available.