As of Thursday night, these three groups are among 44 political action committees that have formed since Oct. 18.
These groups must by law disclose their donors. But this election cycle, the final pre-Election Day deadline for PACs and super PACs to reveal their donors came and went on Oct. 25 — a deadline covering financial activity from Oct. 1 to Oct. 17. Any group that formed after Oct. 17 isn’t subject to this deadline and must first report the identities of their contributors, and the amounts they contributed, on Dec. 6, per federal regulations.
Most notable among these just-formed groups is Texas Forever, a super PAC bashing Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. To date, Texas Forever has spent more than $1.29 million on anti-Cruz TV ads just in the past two weeks. (Update, 10:49 a.m., Nov. 6, 2018: As of Election Day morning, Texas Forever has spent more than $2.3 million on anti-Ted Cruz ads.)
Who gave that money to Texas Forever is a mystery, and will remain so until Dec. 6. Cruz is battling Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke in a race that a University of Texas at Tyler poll Wednesday indicates is very close and the Cook Political Report has declared a “toss-up”.
“BBQ. Football. … There’s a lot in Texas you shouldn’t mess with. Your health care is one of them. But Ted Cruz did,” the ad’s voiceover says.
The treasurer of the Texas Forever super PAC is Democratic Texas political consultant Christopher Lippincott, who from 2006 to 2011 served as the director of media relations for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Lippincott acknowledged an interview request from the Center for Public Integrity, but did not respond to several follow-up attempts. In a recent interview with the Dallas Morning News, he declined to reveal the group’s donors but nevertheless called Cruz out for benefitting from conservative political groups’ secretive money: “Ted Cruz is a phony politician propped up by millions of out-of-state dark dollars who has spent the past six years doing favors for his special interest donors."
Said Cruz campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier to the Center for Public Integrity: “That’s an awfully hypocritical charge given that Beto O’Rourke is being propped up by this very super PAC and has taken money for his campaign bundled by multiple PACs.”
Although little is known about Texas Forever, it hired a media buying firm, Waterfront Strategies, that has ties to the national Democratic machinery.
O’Rourke has routinely boasted of not accepting corporate PAC or special interest money.
But as Texas Forever is a super PAC, and therefore not controlled by the O’Rourke campaign, it can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money as it sees fit — to benefit O’Rourke or any other political candidate. O’Rourke has also financially benefited from the effort of JStreetPAC, a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” political committee that’s served as a “conduit” and directed individuals’ contributions to O’Rourke’s campaign, as the Associated Press has reported.
"We're not interested in the help of any super PACs or special interest groups and don't want their involvement in this race, which is why our grassroots campaign has accepted exactly zero dollars from PACs in this election," Chris Evans, the O’Rourke campaign communications director, told the Center for Public Integrity.