An Iowa-based organization dedicated to combating “the radical animal rights movement” and led by a former Missouri Republican senator’s chief of staff has launched a new super PAC, according to paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The Protect the Harvest Political Action Committee told the elections regulator that it “intends to raise funds in unlimited amounts” to call for the election or defeat of federal candidates.
Which politicos will be targeted, however, is still unclear.
Neither the super PAC’s treasurer, Brian Klippenstein, nor its attorney, Mark Roth, responded to requests for comment from the Center for Public Integrity.
Super PACs are legally allowed to solicit unlimited contributions to produce political advertisements — so long as their spending is not coordinated with any candidates’ campaigns.
Klippenstein currently serves as the executive director of Protect the Harvest, a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” nonprofit established in 2011 to educate the public about “the benefits of farming, ranching and hunting” and to advocate “for the right to conduct such activities.”
The nonprofit may engage in politics, although federal law mandates that influencing elections may not be its primary purpose.
On its website, Protect the Harvest warns that “the animal rights movement in America, led by the Humane Society of the United States, has evolved into a wealthy and successful attack group determined to end the consumption of meat, threaten consumer access to affordable food, eliminate hunting, outlaw rodeos and circuses and even ban animal ownership (including pets) altogether.”
That's "baloney," said Joe Maxwell, the Humane Society of the United States' vice president of outreach and engagement. He said his organization is "leading efforts to ensure that we have good stewards of the land and the animals on our farms."
Protect the Harvest, Maxwell asserted, is "nothing but a front group" that is "in bed with industrialized agriculture."