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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Leadership PACs

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).

All are current lawmakers with political action committees that gave a third or less -- in some cases far less -- of their proceeds to other candidates in the 2012 campaign cycle.
Leadership PACs are an extension of a politician's brand. Set up as auxiliaries to traditional campaign committees, they're traditionally thought of as ways for politicians to earn goodwill by passing campaign cash on to other party members -- bestowing gifts on up-and-comers in exchange for loyalty down the road, or offering tribute to party higher-ups. But in an analysis of leadership PACs, found that of the 25 leadership PACs that spent more than $1 million in the last election cycle, just five of them gave more than 50 percent of their money to other candidates.
SarahPAC, the leadership PAC led by former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, also ranks among the top spending leadership PACs, but it stands out for how little of that cash it gives to other candidates. The group spent $5.1 million in the 2012 cycle, ranking it third on the list of top spenders even though Palin was not running for any office, but it gave just 4 percent of that, or about $306,000, to candidates, PACs or party groups.

The number one recipient of SarahPAC cash was HSP Direct, a Virginia-based direct mail company.

While Palin's leadership PAC stands out for its high spending and single digit sharing, it's not an unusual pattern for politicans rumored to have presidential ambitions, or at least aspirations to a national profile.
Rubio's Reclaim America PAC spent $1.7 million, far less than SarahPAC, but similarly gave just 4 percent of that cash to other political committees or parties. The leadership PACs for Reps. Michelle Bachman (R-Min.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and his son Rand, all known for their national aspirations, all raised more than $1 million but gave 10 percent or less to other candidates.