No fewer than six GOP freshmen in Congress have established so-called “leadership PACs” for raising cash which they can legally spend on travel, polling, and consultants so long as the expenditures aren’t explicitly for their election campaigns, The Caucus blog of The New York Times reports.
Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican with strong tea-party backing, launched his Guardian Leadership PAC last month.
His House GOP colleagues in PAC formation include freshman Reps. Steve Womack of Florida (Razor PAC), Kristi Noem of South Dakota (Kristi PAC), and Jeff Denham of California (Jeff PAC).
Their counterparts in the Senate are Republican newcomers Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire (Kelly PAC) and John Hoeven of North Dakota (Dakota PAC).
Under federal law, an individual contributor can give up to $5,000 a year to a leadership PAC. The PAC, in turn, can solicit donations from any source and directly fund other candidates’ campaigns.
They cannot spend directly on the PAC founder’s own election campaign. But they do have wide leeway to spend “indirectly” on activities that enhance their political profiles and their clout, and position them to run for committee chairmanships, caucus leadership posts, and higher elective offices.
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