Watchdog groups ask DOJ to investigate Jeb Bush and his super PAC

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Scott Olson, Getty Images

A pair of public interest groups have asked the Justice Department to investigate whether former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his super PAC, Right to Rise, are breaking campaign finance laws.

The former governor is clearly already a presidential candidate -- in spite of his attempts to say otherwise, argue the groups Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center. As a candidate, Bush would be legally barred from coordinating with a super PAC like Right to Rise.

However, by delaying his entry into the 2016 race, Bush and Right to Rise "are engaged in a scheme to allow unlimited contributions to be spent directly on behalf of the Bush campaign and thereby violate the candidate contribution limits enacted to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption," the two groups wrote in a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center asked Lynch to appoint an independent Special Counsel to conduct the investigation on behalf of the Justice Department.

The groups are also filing a complaint against Bush and Right to Rise with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) but said in a statement that the dysfunctional FEC "has lost public credibility as an enforcement agency."

The complaint against Bush and Right to Rise is just the first in a series of requests for investigations the two groups plan to make. The 2016 candidates, whether they've officially entered the race or not, have employed several tactics to push the limits of campaign finance rules.

"Jeb Bush is not alone in the presidential field in seeming to thumb his nose at the law,"

Campaign Legal Center executive director J. Gerald Hebert said in a statement, adding that the Justice Department should step in to "keep the White House and Congress off the auction block."