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PAC profile: Cain Connections

Quick stats on the super PAC

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Type of organization: Super PAC

Supports: Conservative candidates

Founded: Dec. 14, 2011

Social media: You Tube channel, Facebook page, Twitter profile

Principals:

  • Herman Cain (founder): Former GOP presidential candidate.
  • Anthony Holm (former treasurer): Former advisor to Rick Perry’s gubernatorial campaign and spokesman for prolific GOP donor Bob Perry.
  • Mark Block (treasurer): Former chief of staff for Herman Cain's presidential run and former state director at Americans for Prosperity in Wisconsin.

Profile:

Barely two weeks after Herman Cain suspended his presidential campaign, he started his own super PAC (jump to minute 8:28) named Cain Connections. Cain Connections calls itself a "We the people movement,” and, so far at least, it is focused on promoting Cain’s ideas — not particular candidates.

Cain Connections primarly serves as a platform for Cain to promote his ideas, namely the 9-9-9 tax plan. While Cain Connections doesn't use the word "endorsement" in its press releases praising candidates who adopt Cain's 9-9-9 plan, the super PAC refers to those politicians as lieutenants of Cain's "Army of Davids," fighting the "Goliath" of big government.

Ultimately, the group spent roughly $77,000 on advertisements critical of President Barack Obama ahead of the November general election.

During the GOP presidential primaries, Cain's name was actually on the ballot in Florida, as he had not filed a termination report for his campaign at the time of the Florida primary. Campaign finance watchdogs raised questions about the donations Cain Connections received while Cain was technically still a candidate.

Aside from the timing of its inception, Cain Connections also drew attention because its former treasurer, Anthony Holm, had ties to another former Republican presidential contender, Rick Perry. Talking to Roll Call, several sources said it was unclear why a former Perry adviser would start a Cain super PAC. 

In February, Holm stepped aside as treasurer and was replaced by former Cain chief of staff Mark Block, who came with his own set of potential problems. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint against Block with the Federal Election Commission in November alleging violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act. The complaint says that Block's nonprofit Prosperity USA illegally paid for $40,000 worth of various items — including iPads and chartered flights to Iowa and Las Vegas — Cain's presidential committee, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Cain Connections' biggest donors include former New York Post editor Peter Kalikow, who contributed $50,000 near the end of December, as well as Cain's presidential campaign committeee, which made an in-kind contribution of a donor list (valued at $596,400), and the 9-9-9 Fund super PAC, which contributed $100,000.

After he dropped out of the GOP presidential primary race, Cain personally endorsed his one-time rival Newt Gingrich.

Advertisements:

  • An odd ad released in March had a rabbit, supposedly representing small business, being catapulted into the air and shot.
  • In another animal-themed ad, "Chicken" showed a farmer — the "average american taxpayer" — being attacked by a flock of chickens, representing big government.

Last updated: Jan. 14, 2013