Paul Ryan's PAC?
Dear Group, If you watch TV you should pay attention to the the "Paid For" statement that by law must appear at the end of each political ad. If you are already watching the "Paid For" statements you may have wondered when the attack ads from "Paul Ryan's PAC" are going to appear. After all, we've heard a number of times that "Paul Ryan's PAC" has set up an office in Spokane. An article in the Spokesman by Kip Hill on January 8 informed us eastern Washington was one of 27 congressional "key districts" in which "Paul Ryan's PAC" had already set up an office. In January of 2018 ours was the only U.S. congressional district in the State of Washington with such an office. (Did they see the writing on the wall?) Take note: "Paid For by Paul Ryan's PAC" will not appear. When an ad funded by the PAC appears it will read "Paid For by the Congressional Leadership Fund." The "Congressional Leadership Fund," sounds very bland and bi-partisan, almost as if it were an arm of the Congress itself. I imagine the name was advance-registered by Republican message-meisters for exactly that reason. The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) is a Super-PAC, a first generation offspring of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision of January 2010, the Republican-engineered legal case that un-leashed a flood of corporate money into our election system. The CLF is one place where the engineered personhood right of Citizens United is manifest, manifest right here in eastern Washington. The Congressional Leadership Fund shows its first recorded donation on October 31, 2011 following Citizens United. By the end of the 2011-2012 election cycle the CLF had received over 11 million dollars in donations, including 2.5 million from Chevron and, to bring the story closer to home, $300,000 from Edmund O. Schweitzer III of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman, WA. In the 2015-2016 cycle donations grew to 50 million and for the current cycle they already stand at 101 million dollars. According to Kip Hill's Spokesman article from January: The field office in Spokane will serve as a hub for one full-time staffer and volunteers to begin canvassing the district to speak with voters about issues and gather data ahead of the November election, according to the Congressional Leadership Fund. The announcement does not mean the organization, which spent millions of dollars supporting the special election candidacies of Reps. Greg Gianforte* of Montana and Karen Handle [against Jon Ossoff] of Georgia, will make ad buys in Eastern Washington. Will the Congressional Leadership Fund ("Paul Ryan's PAC) keep a low profile here in eastern Washington or will there be a flood of foul ads from the CLF in late October, right before the election? In preparation we would do well to pay attention to CLF's tactics elsewhere. Check out this article in the Washington Post from September 7 and follow its links to get a feel for the desperation and nastiness the CLF is capable of generating. "Paul Ryan's PAC" equals The Congressional Leadership Fund. It is a blatant example of the corrosive result of the corporate personhood established by Republican corporate effort in the Citizens United case. (read more on Citizen's United here). The Congressional Leadership Fund, a darling of corporate interests and the offspring of Citizens United, is right here in eastern Washington. Watch for its effects. Keep to the high ground, Jerry P.S. The Congressional Leadership Fund is a "Super PAC (Independent Expenditure-Only)," Such a PAC (Political Action Committee) "makes only independent expenditures [and] may solicit and accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, labor organizations and other political committees." The definition of "independent expenditure" is one "That is not made in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, any candidate, or his or her authorized committees or agents, or a political party committee or its agents. 11 CFR 100.16." (see the glossary at fec.gov) Refer to Kip Hill's Spokesman quote above and marvel at how easily "independent" can be made blurry... *Greg Gianforte is a far right, uber-wealthy then-candidate who assaulted a reporter from the Guardian right before the Montana special election to replace Ryan Zinke. Perhaps on account of absentee ballots already filed, he managed to eek out a win in spite of the assault. His seat as the only Representative from Montana, the seat he has held for only a little more than a year, is hotly contested this November by a great candidate, Kathleen Williams. I hope there are enough sane people still in Montana to retain Jon Tester as Senator and to replace this unseemly evangelical pugilist, Gianforte, with Kathleen Williams. I find Williams' wikipedia article inspirational.