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Leadership PACs are often overlooked. These names can't be ignored

Herb Jackson, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON — If you won your seat in Congress by one of the narrowest margins ever — six votes — you can’t run away from it.

And Iowa GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks showed she’s owning that narrow win in choosing the name for her leadership PAC, a fundraising committee that operates parallel to (and with more relaxed spending rules than) the one she will use to run for reelection.

Showing some originality in an area of campaign finance where too many lawmakers rely on gimmicks, or even names that were taken before them, Miller-Meeks not only trumpeted her close win but also checked the candidate-I’d-like-to-have-a-beer-with box by choosing “Six Political Action Committee.”

That’s Six PAC if you’re filling out checks. Some of Miller-Meeks’ fellow GOP freshmen chose names that send a message about why they’re there, such as “Save America Stop Socialism” (Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene), “Freedom Force,” (Florida’s Maria Elvira Salazar) and “Residents First” (Florida’s Carlos Gimenez).

Other GOP freshmen chose to use the name of their state in the PAC name, such as “Oregon Frontier” (Cliff Bentz), “Tennessee Tough” (Diana Harshbarger), and “Texas Red” (Ronny Jackson).

That’s a theme popular across Congress, as is having the PAC’s acronym spell the lawmaker’s name, a trend that continued with “Conservative American Republican Leadership” (Alabama’s Jerry Carl), “Must Act to Create Excellence” (South Carolina’s Nancy Mace) and “Patriots Always Triumph” (Texas’ Pat Fallon).

 

Some had fun with this, such as “Make America Republican Yesterday” (Illinois’ Mary Miller). Others had to reach a bit with “Support Taxfighters & Elect Effective Leaders” (California’s Michelle Steel).

One seems to have looked in the mirror to pick a name: Michigan’s red-haired and -bearded Peter Meijer chose “Ginger PAC.”

Originality is not required in naming leadership PACs. When former President Donald Trump declared last month there should be “no more money for RINOS,” he urged supporters to donate instead to “Save America PAC,” a leadership PAC he created as he was leaving office.

It didn’t matter that there already was a leadership PAC with that name, created in 2009 by Sen. Jim Risch. The Idaho Republican also created Save America PAC II in 2017. Risch’s funds took in less than $160,000 during the 2020 election cycle, while Trump’s took in nearly $32 million between Oct. 15 and Dec. 31. Risch didn’t respond when asked how he felt about the former president copying the name, or whether any dollars meant for Trump showed up in Boise instead.

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