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PAC Profile: American Bridge 21st Century

Quick stats on the super PAC

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Type of organization: Super PAC

Supports: Democratic candidates

Founded: Nov. 23, 2010

Website: americanbridgepac.org

Social media: YouTube channelFacebook pageTwitter profile

Principals:

  • David Brock (founder and treasurer): A conservative-turned-liberal pundit and writer who is the founder of Media Matters for America.
  • Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (chairwoman): Former lieutenant governor of Maryland and deputy assistant district attorney general during the Clinton administration.
  • Rodell Mollineau (president): Previously staff director of the Senate Democratic Communications Center under Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Profile:

American Bridge 21st Century was started by former journalist and liberal activist David Brock, who staffed the super PAC with former Hill staffers and employees of his nonprofit, Media Matters for America.

Media Matters describes itself as a “progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” American Bridge’s mission is similar, with a strong focus on opposition research to help Democratic candidates and other allied super PACs.

The group monitors GOP candidates’ records and public appearances and has made news with some of its findings. It also deployed social media to share its findings — to “[help] you ascertain when Republican candidates are pretending to be something they’re not.”

American Bridge pounced on Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri after he said that "legitimate rape" rarely results in pregnancy because the female body has a way of trying to "shut that whole thing down." The super PAC even produced a direct mail piece that featured audio of Akin's remarks.

American Bridge also made independent expenditures designed to aid President Barack Obama, Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in Indiana's U.S. Senate race and Democratic House candidate Tammy Duckworth in Illinois' 8th Congressional District. The group's preferred candidates won in all four contests.

As the Center for Public Integrity has reported, American Bridge was one of several progressive political groups to coordinate fundraising efforts for the 2012 elections. 

Like Democratic-aligned super PACs House Majority PAC and Majority PAC, American Bridge’s address of record is the Washington offices of the Perkins Coie law firm.

In July, American Bridge, together with the Courage Campaign Super PAC, launched "Mitt Gets Worse," a website that claimed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had worked to "diminish the rights and the freedoms of LGBT Americans" and would continue to do so if elected. The site featured video testimonials from gay and lesbian activists.

American Bridge also has a 501(c)(4) arm, which is called the American Bridge 21st Century Foundation. The foundation, which is not legally required to publicly disclose its funders, ranks as the super PAC's No. 1 donor, giving slightly more than $1 million, mostly for "overhead and staff" expenses.

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Last updated: Jan. 17, 2013