PAC profile: Congressional Leadership Fund

Quick stats on the super PAC

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Type of organization: Super PAC

Supports candidate: Republican

Founded: October 21, 2011

Website: congressionalleadershipfund.org

Social media: YouTube channel, Twitter profile

Principals:

  • Norm Coleman (chairman): Coleman, a Republican, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002 and served one term before narrowly losing to Democrat Al Franken after an extended recount fight. He is also the chairman of the related nonprofit American Action Network.
  • Brian Walsh (president): As the former political director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, Walsh helped the GOP take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. Walsh also serves as the president of the American Action Network.
  • Fred Malek (adviser): Malek, a former aide to President Richard Nixon, sits on the board of the Congressional Leadership Fund. He is also a founder of the American Action Network, as well as the chairman of the American Action Forum, AAN’s associated 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
  • Vin Weber (adviser): A former Republican congressman from Minnesota, Weber served from 1981 to 1993. He is currently a partner at the lobbying firm Mercury Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.

Profile:

Created as a conservative counterweight to the Democrat’s House Majority PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund was formed in October 2011 to focus “solely and exclusively on maintaining the Republican majority in the House of Representatives,” according to the group’s website.

The lion’s share of the first $6.5 million raised by the Congressional Leadership Fund through June 30 — $5 million — came from 79-year-old casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, in February.

Overall, Adelson and his family members have contributed more than $93 million to super PACs in the 2012 election cycle, the Center’s research shows.

Likewise, Texas homebuilder Bob Perry — the third-largest donor to super PACs this cycle — donated $1 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, all of which came in April.

The group also received a $2.5 million contribution on Oct. 7 from Chevron Corp., which is ranked ranked No. 3 on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. companies. Chevron is one of just a handful of Fortune 500 companies to donate to super PACs this election, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of corporate giving, and by far the largest.

Chevron’s donation to the Congressional Leadership Fund represented the bulk of the group’s receipts for the pre-general reporting period.

On Sept. 14, the Congressional Leadership Fund made its first independent expenditure — $558,000 in television ads opposing Rep. Betty Sutton D-Ohio. The group ultimately spent more than $2.7 million against Sutton, as she went down to defeat to Republican Rep. Jim Renacci after redistricting pitted the two incumbents against each other.

The Congressional Leadership Fund is the super PAC arm of American Action Network, a nonprofit that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, spent nearly $20 million on ads aimed at electing Republicans in the 2010 elections. The groups share personnel and office space in Washington, D.C., according to Federal Election Commission filings.

American Action Network is not required to disclose its donors, but documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service indicate it has received funds from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Republican Jewish Coalition, the American Natural Gas Alliance and Crossroads GPS.

Advertisements:

  • Sutton Works for Pelosi,” linked Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and slammed Sutton for her support of the Democrat's health care reform law.
  • Look,” was an ad that attacked the record of Texas state Rep. Pete Gallego, a Democrat, who challenged Republican Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco for the U.S. House in Texas’s 23rd District.

Last Updated: Jan. 15, 2013