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

What We're Following See More »
Clinton Rips Into Trump
9 hours ago

Just a day after Donald Trump called her a bigot, Hillary Clinton delivered a scathing speech tying Trump to the KKK and so-called “alt-right.” This new frontier of debate between the two candidates has emerged at a time when Trump has been seeking to appeal to minority voters, among whom he has struggled to garner support. Calling him “profoundly dangerous,” Clinton didn’t hold back on her criticisms of Trump. “He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party,” Clinton said.

Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
14 hours ago
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
18 hours ago

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
2 days ago

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Trump Cancels Rallies
2 days ago

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.