“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the tremendous help of the House Majority PAC,” says Rep. Elizabeth Etsy, D-Conn., one of the 40 House Majority PAC-backed candidates who won on Election Day.
House Majority PAC’s four-and-a-half-minute video showcases infomercial-style testimonials from seven new members of Congress. A disclaimer at the bottom of the screen reads that each politician is “not asking for funds or donations.”
The ad, titled "We Make The Difference," also chronicles and contrasts the past two election cycles. In the 2010 midterm election, an avalanche of spending by outside groups helped Republicans reclaim the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2012, Democratic-aligned groups jumped headlong into the super PAC game.
“As long as Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and Crossroads exist, it’s important that progressives fight back,” Andy Stone, the organization’s spokesperson, told the Center for Public Integrity, referencing the former Bush adviser who helped launch super PAC American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, its politically active nonprofit sister group.
Campaign finance law prohibits federal politicians from soliciting more than $5,000 per election for super PACs, although the groups may accept donations of unlimited amounts.
Ultimately, House Majority PAC spent nearly $31 million during the 2012 election. Its biggest donors were Chicago media mogul Fred Eychaner, who gave $4.25 million to the group, and former hedge fund manager James H. Simons who contributed $1.5 million to the super PAC.
The video — and its assortment of cameos by public officials — presents a clear appeal to deep-pocketed donors, said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel to the Campaign Legal Center.
“A donor to House Majority PAC would have every reason to believe that a huge contribution to the super PAC would give them just as much favor with the officeholder as cutting a huge check directly to the officeholder would,” Ryan said.
House Majority PAC intends to use the online video to promote the group’s success in 2012, Stone said.
The ad’s targeted audience?