Fighting back against corporate funding of bought-and-paid-for Republicans
In late September of 2013, RNC Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land appeared at a Republican Women of Leelanau County Garden Party. Like Mitt Romney in 2012, Land neglected to notice that she was being recorded. Video of her appeared on Huffington Post saying that she had been talking to people at conservative Super PACs and they were “committed to Michigan” where she’s running for Senate.
Candidates are prohibited by federal law to coordinate with Super PACs.
So, my husband and I, like I said, are committed to this. We’re out on the road, we’re raising money, it’s going to take a lot of resources to do this. It’s probably a $20 million campaign. But the reality is, we’ve got new folks out there who are raising money. That’s the super PACs.
Now this is a whole new world and after, some of you remember, the Citizens United lawsuit that happened, which actually started here in Michigan. I don’t know if some of you know that it started here in Michigan. And that changed the dynamics of politics, restricted the parties, but it let individuals and others raise resources to do that.
Now, our campaign has talked to a lot of those folks. They’re committed to Michigan. [...] [T]his is not just about Michigan, the whole country is watching. They really want to support us here in Michigan. And again, if we can do this in Michigan, that means they win in the other states.
For the past four months, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson has been asking Land to deny that she’s working with the Koch brothers corporatist front group Americans for Prosperity who are running a $1 million smear campaign on Land’s behalf, running attack ads against her opponent Gary Peters. To date, Land has not denied this and has, in fact been silent, avoiding any public events where she would be forced to answer hard questions.
In response to Land’s silence, Johnson announced this morning that he will take action against Land for “illegal commitments she received from special interest Super PACs”. Johnson intends to file a complaint, which you can read HERE (pdf) with the Federal Elections Committee (FEC).
In a statement, Johnson notes that the Kochs were recently forced to pay massive fines for a failed multi-million dollar scheme aimed at influencing two California ballot measures.
“After RNC Committeewoman Terri Lynn Land previously touted her pledges from special interest Super PACs, and is now dodging questions from reporters on the subject,” Johnson said, “It has become clear that an underhanded, backdoor, illegal deal has been made. We have an obligation to preserve the integrity and democracy of this U.S. Senate seat, and we will be taking action to protect Michigan from Ms. Land’s scheme to sell off our voice in the U.S. Senate to outside special interest groups.”
It is clear that Land intends to win this election by spending as much money as possible. In addition to the millions that will be spent on her behalf by corporatist and conservative Super PACs, she is plowing millions of her own immense wealth into the race. In the last half of 2013 she put $1,600,000 of her own money into her campaign.
However, if she IS coordinating with Americans for Prosperity in violation of federal election law, this race may be over before it begins. Stay tuned.
[Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]