GOP congressman provides super PAC seed funding

Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., gives $10,000 to recently launched GOAL WestPAC

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The campaign of Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., provided two-thirds of the first $15,000 raised by a super PAC that employs his brother and a former congressional aide, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of federal records.

GOAL WestPAC, which lists Philip Pearce as its treasurer, received $10,000 from Rep. Pearce’s campaign committee in January, federal records show.

The congressman's campaign also donated $10,000 in January to GOAL Advocacy, a related 501(c)(4) “social welfare” nonprofit, which, like the super PAC, is led by Jason Heffley, Pearce’s former deputy chief of staff and campaign manager.

The new super PAC, which registered with the Federal Election Commission in January, also reported receiving $5,000 from New Mexico-based ME-TEX Oil & Gas, Inc., whose president, Mark Vetero, is on the board of GOAL Advocacy.

The two contributions account for the group’s total receipts through the end of June.

Heffley told the Center for Public Integrity that the super PAC did not plan to focus on Pearce’s 2014 re-election contest. Instead, it would back candidates who support the group’s conservative principles.

Pearce spokesman Eric Layer referred questions to officials with Pearce’s campaign, who did not immediately respond to comment.

For its part, GOAL Advocacy seeks to “educate Americans on the positive impacts the oil, gas and agricultural industries have on our economy,” according to its website.

The nonprofit group’s website also accuses “radical environmental groups” of using “propaganda to scare the public” and pushing “misinformation” about fracking.

This year, it has been airing radio advertisements urging people to contact Congress to oppose listing the lesser prairie-chicken as an endangered species.

In addition to Vetero, several other oil and gas industry executives sit on GOAL Advocacy’s board of directors.

The oil and gas industry ranks as Pearce’s top campaign contributor, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, with people and political action committees associated with it providing at least 10 percent of the $14 million he has raised over his career.