Another big name GOP veteran in Washington, lobbyist and operative Scott Reed, is jumping into the crowded field of independent groups raising tens of millions of dollars to help Republican congressional candidates win on Election Day.
Reed told the Center that he’s raised about half of the $25 million he’s hoping to spend to influence a few Senate and twenty House contests mostly by running ads in selected districts. Reed’s group, which is set up as a 501© (4) under the IRS code, intends to start airing commercials in mid- September.
“I have a great deal of interest from people around the country,” Reed said, including some donors in New York and California.
The new group, which Reed declined to name at this time, will run a mix of issue ads touting the stances of candidates and others that explicitly tell viewers to vote for a specific candidate. The ads will “promote economic conservative positions” such as growth and job creation, Reed said.
Other outside groups have started running direct advocacy ads since the Supreme Court ruled in January in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations and unions can now spend unlimited sums on ads calling for the defeat or election of specific candidates.
Reed is the latest of a cadre of heavy hitting Republican veterans, such as ex-RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, GOP political guru Karl Rove and former Senator Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who are raising money for, or leading newly created conservative, pro-GOP groups. These outfits have already poured millions of dollars into issue or direct advocacy ads in such states as Nevada, Ohio and Washington in support of GOP Senate candidates.
A former executive director at the Republican National Committee in the 1994 when the GOP regained control of Congress, Reed also managed then Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole’s 1996 unsuccessful presidential campaign. Reed runs his own firm lobbying firm, Chesapeake Enterprises, which has worked for a mix of clients including casino-owning Indian tribes, financial service and information technology companies. In recent years, Reed has also been an outside consultant to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and has been a close ally of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.