SPOTLIGHT

The Rise of the DIY Super PAC

Lights, camera, super PAC action: Jordan
National Journal
Shane Goldmacher
May 8, 2014, 7:40 a.m.

Tom Stey­er isn’t giv­ing away his mil­lions to some stranger. He’s build­ing his own polit­ic­al ap­par­at­us (both a su­per PAC and a non­profit, of course) from scratch. Mi­chael Bloomberg is ex­ecut­ing the same do-it-your­self strategy. So are a grow­ing num­ber of big donors who are re­ject­ing the es­tab­lished old guard. Some of these mega-donors have grown dis­il­lu­sioned; some have nar­row agen­das; oth­ers just think they know bet­ter.

— One of these solo su­per PAC prac­ti­tion­ers is John Jordan, the wine ex­ec­ut­ive who fun­ded the $1.4 mil­lion su­per PAC that failed to de­feat Sen. Ed Mar­key (D) in last year’s Mas­sachu­setts spe­cial elec­tion. Count Jordan, the sub­ject a magazine pro­file in this week’s Na­tion­al Journ­al, among the dis­il­lu­sioned. He’d been a “sev­en-fig­ure” Cross­roads con­trib­ut­or but said, “With Cross­roads, all you got was Karl Rove would come and do his little rain dance.”

— Jordan’s latest ven­ture: Help­ing fund $250,000 (and count­ing) in worth of ads for pe­di­at­ric neurosur­geon Mon­ica We­hby (R), a can­did­ate many Re­pub­lic­ans be­lieve could give Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) a real race in Ore­gon.

— And for those think­ing that the Mc­Cutcheon Su­preme Court de­cision might shift sub­stan­tial power back to the polit­ic­al parties, think again. “It is a tem­pest in a teapot in terms of prac­tic­al polit­ics,” Jordan says. That’s be­cause the big, un­lim­ited money re­mains out­side money.

What’s most in­ter­est­ing about Jordan and donors like him is that be­cause of the rise in DIY activ­ity, money is in­creas­ingly not just bey­ond the party’s grasp, but the broad­er es­tab­lish­ment’s as well, as more and more donors go it alone.
— Shane Gold­mach­er

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