The treasurer and sole identified officer for The Hillary Project, the super PAC that posted a video game encouraging users to slap an animated version of former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, has parted ways with the anti-Clinton group. A spokesman for the group told ThinkProgress this move came as a result of pressure from the gubernatorial campaign of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R), who feared his involvement might be seen as “another example of Cuccinelli’s backward view of a woman’s role in society.”
Christopher M. Marston, a Republican operative with ties to several prominent GOP officeholders, was the sole name listed on Federal Election Commission filings for The Hillary Project. A professional accountant and Republican election compliance officer, Marston also has served as treasurer for the pro-Rick Santorum 2012 super PAC and leadership PACs belonging to Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA), Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), and Virginia Speaker of the House William Howell (R).
Wednesday, Paul Connors of The Hillary Project told ThinkProgress that while Marston had “unfairly become the victim in this story when he has no direct involvement in decisions or operations,” he “remains the compliance and FEC vendor.” He noted, however, that a change in treasurer was planned as the group staffs up.
Marston apparently posted a response on the Virginia blog Blue Virginia to stories critical of him and his role in the anti-Clinton super PAC early Thursday morning, noting that he had no involvement in the committee’s strategy: “As a contractor, I don’t offer opinions on the content of any of my clients’ communications. It wouldn’t be ethical. Unfortunately, all of these stories have put my clients in a pinch, so I’ve asked the Hillary Project to find a new treasurer.”
Asked about this claim, The Hillary Project’s spokesman Fred Wilcox told ThinkProgress in an email that they and Marston had agreed to change the committee’s designated treasurer as the result of pressure from another Marston client: Ken Cuccinelli for Governor. He wrote:
None of Marston’s other clients gave a damn. We’re not a Republican group and everyone who matters knows that Marston is just a compliance vendor — nothing more. But, one struggling campaign flipped out. The Ken Cuccinelli for Governor staff pushed Marston to choose between us and them since they thought that it could become another example of Cuccinelli’s backward view of a woman’s role in society. They are facing an uphill battle in Virginia, and like all losing campaigns, they are grasping at straws and chasing ghosts.
Chris Marston has been unfairly made a victim in this story (as we previously discussed). Last night, the leaders of our group asked Marston to change the Treasurer designee to someone internally for two reasons. First, Marston is a good guy who shouldn’t have to choose and THP took the high-ground here by giving him a way out. Second, after multiple stories painting THP as an exclusively Republican organization came out, the group decided that we needed a Treasurer that was effectively non-partisan. The new treasurer was already keeping our books internally and has not been politically active in Republican or Democratic circles previously (Rocco Turzi).
Cuccinelli has come under fire for his opposition to legal abortion even in cases of rape and incest, his opposition to sex education, his efforts to preserve the state’s unconstitutional law making consensual adult oral sex a felony, his refusal to endorse the Violence Against Women Act.
The Hillary Project bills itself as the “only thing standing between” Hillary Clinton and the White House.
Marston has not yet responded to multiple ThinkProgress requests for comment.
Anna Nix, press secretary for the Cuccinelli campaign, told ThinkProgress, “We find the website to be reprehensible. Marston informed the campaign that he had nothing to do with its production and upon learning of its existence, he immediately resigned from the Super Pac.”